Design Engineering

Canadian tech company shows off enormous touchscreen

By Design Engineering Staff   

General Ontario Centres of Excellence touchscreen

Mississauga-based Baanto’s “touch wall” recognizes 18 simultaneous touch points.

Touchscreen maker, Baanto International of Mississauga and partner Christie Digital, made a splash at the Ontario Centre’s of Excellence Discover 12 show this week by applying the company’s ShadowSense technology to what is believed to be one of the largest multi-touch screens at 10.6 by 4-feet. Located at the show’s entrance, the “touch wall” was comprised of 32 of Christie Digitals’ scalable and stackable MicroTiles displays.

According to Baanto, its ShadowSense technology has a response time of approximately seven milliseconds and touch detection of up to 18 objects simultaneously down to 5 millimeters in diameter. To ensure performance, processing is performed by a touch controller through Windows standard USB HID packet, which removes the need for OS drivers and doesn’t consume CPU cycles.

Unlike the capacitive touchscreens in an Apple iPhone or iPad, which require a conductive material like human skin to pinpoint touch location, ShadowSense is perimeter-based. Optical sensors along the bezel assembly detect the “shadow” of a finger or stylus created by multiple LED lights. The upside is that the touch capability works independent from the glass or screen material. In addition, the technology allows for touch screens that are easily configurable and scalable.

This approach gives ShadowSense an edge over surface acoustic wave (SAW) screens–which measure the distortions created by a finger or other object in an acoustical field over the screen surface–due to SAW’s susceptibility to background noise and vibration. 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 potential downside to optical imaging can be its susceptibility to ghosting, whereby the shadow of one touch object or finger 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.”


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