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Breakthrough in touch technology

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3M Touch Systems has unveiled a breakthrough touch technology that is expected to change the landscape of the touch system business. The new technology, known as Dispersive Signal Technology, featured at the Society for Information Display (SID) conference in Washington.

Dispersive Signal Technology offers a fundamentally different approach to touch.

Unlike other solutions that recognise touch by the interruption of electrical fields, acoustic waves, or infra-red light, Dispersive Signal Technology recognises touch through vibrations made to the substrate.

Sensors in each corner measure the vibrational energy and, through advanced digital signal processing, dispersion adjustment algorithms are applied to analyse the signals and report an accurate touch.

This approach helps eliminate issues with screen contaminants and surface scratches, while offering enhanced palm rejection. This enhanced feature allows for a touch to be registered while a palm and/or object is resting on the screen's surface.

For example, a finger, gloved hand or stylus can initiate a touch while a person's palm and drink are on the surface. The touch creates a vibration, which radiates a bending wave through the substrate from the point of contact spreading out to the edges - the other resting items are ignored.

"We believe the 3M products that evolve from this patented technological advancement will be of great benefit to our customer base," said Terry Jones, general manager, 3M Touch Systems.

"We are proud of our ability to bring a new technology to an arena that has not experienced this type of innovative milestone in a long time. We are just beginning to explore the potential."

For the first time in one solution, Dispersive Signal Technology incorporates the primary features offered by several touch technologies today - exceptional light transmission, stylus support, accuracy, signature capture and all-glass durability - along with many new capabilities like enhanced palm rejection, auto configuration and the ability to accommodate requests for various display sizes, such as 30- and 40-inch.

This patented solution will be compelling to customers in many of today's high productivity, vertical applications for touch, including retail, point of sale, finance, hospitality and gaming.

"This announcement represents the result of significant research and development through joint collaboration between 3M and NXT plc, and also confirms our dedication to providing touch innovations to meet tomorrow's business needs," said Doug Kuller, program manager, 3M Touch Systems.

"This technological advancement could change the landscape of the touch business, and will be the platform for many upcoming products to be offered by 3M Touch Systems.”

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