The capacitive touch key panel was only seen in the hi-end products like HD TV, computer monitor and kitchen appliance before. Now many companies are active to integrate the touch technology into the overall product series. People will find the capative touch technology has been widely used in the Samsung consumer electronics products line. The touch key can not only improve the aesthetic and industrial design, but also the reliability, because the captive touch key will not be worn for frequent operation.
With the increasing acceptance of the market, the touch key switch products has been extended to vent fan, electromagnetic oven, water heater, microwave oven, blood-pressure meter, portable DVD player, notebook and even TV.
With the increasing of the touch application market, touch IC has become the developing direction of many MCU manufacturers. The cost of the capacitive key is lower than the piezoelectric type. It's more advantageous than the resistance-type on the reliability and cost of the surface material. It's mainly because the capacitive type uses the single ITO Glass structure. Without ITO Film, it has nice performance on the transparency and service life.
What's the touch TV? It's actually the touch TV remote. All the present plastic keys are changed to touch type. The human-computer interface will become beautiful. What's the prospect of the product? It will be tested by the market.
No matter the dishwasher, blu-ray disc player or smartphone manufacturer will face many competitors and it's hard to diverse the products on the function and specification. The elegant, attractive and direct user interface can become the key factor to create the necessary consumer products. The capacitive touch is obviously the important technology engine to help the manufacturer realize the goal.
The household appliances, 3C and consumer electronics are the main target market of the touch key application. Shengyang started to arrange the touch IC market since it launches the first generation touch switch chip product in 2007. The main representative product is an eight bit control IC HT46R73D-3 with built-in Touch-key function. It's very suitable for the bridge type sensor measuring system products like bathroom scale, pressure gauge, hygrometer and tire gauge.
For different application market, the touch IC technology is differently required. For the portable products, the power-saving, low consuming and compact features are the main demands. But for car and medical products, the stability and reliability become the main demands.
Compared with the touch screen which is popular in the mobile phone field, the most obvious feature of touch key is the low cost. The touch screen requires more of IC design than the key application. In the technology exploring process, the cost becomes one of the factors which will impede the development.
With the promoting of the vertical integration of the industry, the touch IC design company will begin to cooperate with the panel company to shorten the developing period and low the cost. And finally in the capacitive key field, the transparent capacitive keys will be further used on the monitor.