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Once upon a time there was a consummate smartphone user. He could be seen on city sidewalks with his head down, scrolling through the information on his screen, occasionally bumping into others or crossing against the light. He didn’t need to look up. He had the world in the palm of his hand. Until it got cold.
Capacitive touch screens don’t work with your woolly gloves or mittens.
What is our smartphone user to do?
A. Stop using the smartphone outside and rediscover his surroundings
B. Buy a pair of gloves with conductive thread on thumbs, index and middle fingers
C. Lobby for an infrared (IR) touch screen.
There are a few companies that have invented infrared touch screens that rely on a bank of emitters and detectors to establish a blanket of infrared over the LCD display. With clever software, up to five touch points can be resolved on a small display, providing the same functionality as a capacitive touch screen but it works with mittens or gloves; the regular kind. And it’s less expensive.
Vishay provides the emitters and detectors that enable these IR touch screens. And they are qualified for automotive applications too.