Toronto company pioneers desktop multi-touch display

Baanto's ShadowSense touch screen quickly tracks up to four touch points on 19-inch displays.

Comments Off on Toronto company pioneers desktop multi-touch display April 6, 2011
by Design Engineering Staff

Toronto, Ontario – Toronto-based Baanto International Ltd. announced today that it has created a superior optical multi-touch display technology designed for kiosk, ATM and PC monitor markets, among others. The company’s ShadowSense 19-inch E Series touchscreens support two, three or four touch points and integrate the company’s touch point size detection (Tsense), which allows for gradations of touch intensity. Other firsts include accidental touch recognition, static object detection and enhanced durability.

According to Baanto, ShadowSense screens have a response time of less than six milliseconds and touch detection of objects down to two millimeters in diameter. To ensure performance, processing is performed by a touch controller, which removes the need for OS drivers and doesn’t consume CPU cycles. The screens are also IP65 rating, making them resistant to dust and moisture.

Unlike the capacitive touchscreens in an Apple iPhone or iPad, which require a conductor like human skin to pin point touch location, ShadowSense is perimeter-based. Similar to Microsoft’s Surface 2.0 tables, optical sensors in the corners of the display detect the “shadow” of a finger or stylus created by multiple LED lights positioned along bezel assembly. The upside is that the touch capability works independent from the glass or screen material.

This approach gives ShadowSense an edge over surface acoustic wave (SAW) screens–which measure the ripples created by pressing on a screen’s surface—due to their susceptibility to physical damage. Optical imaging is also less expensive to manufacture at larger sizes than vibration sensing technologies like 3M’s Dispersive signal technology or acoustic pulse recognition from Tyco International’s ELO division.

One possible downside to the optical imaging is that it can be prone to ghosting, whereby the shadow of one touch object obscures the position of another; however Baanto Founder and CTO, Av Utukuri, says the company has overcome this limitation.

“Our patented technology and position sensing algorithms have allowed us to create low cost, high performance sensor architectures and avoid the ghosting, obscuration and ‘dead zones’ that plague imager or camera-based solutions currently on the market,” he says. “It scales well, doesn’t require constant recalibration and is incredibly easy to integrate.”