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As the concept of smart homes becomes more mainstream, appliances throughout the home will find new and innovative means by which to take advantage of the internet. Nearly every appliance in the house can have additional functionality once it is connected to the internet, and it is from here that the concept of the Internet of Things arises.

As the functionality of these appliances continues to expand users require an effective and efficient means of interacting with them and taking advantage of the features that the internet opens them up to. This is where touch screens come in.

Touch screens have been a staple in technology for the longest time now. They manage to stick around because of how refined the user experience is. With LCD touch screens, you can easily see the content you are interacting with, and input is straightforward for anyone, even individuals who are not well-versed with technology.

The internet-based functionality that these appliances are now being manufactured with makes interaction uncomplicated as well as being able to add a more high-tech appearance to the appliance. Manufacturing touch screens have become a cost-effective process, so even inexpensive appliances can be bundled with LCD displays that allow for a better user experience.

How Are Displays Used in Appliances?

With the level of innovation that manufacturers are achieving, LCD displays and touch screens can find their way into nearly any appliance in the home. One place where smart products are being rapidly developed is in kitchen appliances.

A toaster can come with internet connectivity and a touch screen. This will allow the user to toast their bread to their perfect taste, save the setting, and allow the toaster to do the rest the next time they want to use it. This way, users don’t need to worry about choosing the wrong setting. With the different things that can be heated in a toaster, manufacturers can include different settings to achieve the perfect finish to anything.

A smart fridge can put a display to many uses. Fridge magnets can be replaced by digital images on the screen. The consumer can easily bring up recipes on the display so they know exactly what they need to bring out from the fridge. In addition to this, if a user ever realizes that they are running low on certain groceries, they can order straight from the fridge, thanks to internet connectivity.

A coffee maker can easily be set to download recipes that a user selects via its touch screen. They can also set your perfect cup as a preset and tap an icon on the screen whenever they want to get their quick morning cup of coffee. With a display, a user can easily set a timer so that their coffee is already brewing before they even get out of bed.

However, as displays find their way into new parts of the home, they must be able to deal with the peculiarities of the environment in which they now reside. The technology behind the average touch screen is sufficient for the typical touch screen, but for displays in locations like the kitchen, for instance, they must be able to detect input through a thicker glass, or through kitchen mittens. Luckily, displays have a new technology that takes care of this.

How Do Touch Screens Work?

There is a lot of work going on behind a touch screen that helps to accurately detect your touches. The major components in a touch screen are an array of electrodes (indium tin oxide being one of the prominent materials used) and a touch IC controller.

A touch panel has a charge distributed across its surface. By using a conductive material, such as a finger, to contact the screen, there is a change in the charge of the panel at a specific spot. The IC controller is able to determine exactly where the change in charge happened and converts that into input data for the device.

The change in charge is minute, so the IC controller must be extremely sensitive so as to detect it. The signal from the charge can be amplified to an extent, to allow for a more sensitive screen, like one that can detect touches through gloves. However, amplifying the signal will also amplify signal noise in the traditional touch panel. Signal noise will result in erroneous touches, and while this can be a mere annoyance in some appliances, it can be potentially disastrous in others.

Luckily, a new technology known as differential mutual technology is able to overcome this hurdle and provide a better user experience with touch screens.

What Is Differential Mutual Technology?

Differential mutual technology is an advancement in touch screen technology that allows for increased sensitivity with better accuracy and less noise. The technology is able to cancel out signal noise similar to the manner that noise-canceling audio equipment does.

Differential mutual technology is able to cancel the noise through a brilliantly thought out mechanism. The sense lines in a touch screen that use differential mutual technology come in pairs. The signal and a negative signal are both passed through these pairs. Due to the fact that the signal noise that passes through each pair is identical, when the signals are subtracted from one another, the noise cancels out. This will allow only the actual signal information to be left behind, free of any noise. Thanks to this, the signal can then be amplified significantly as there is no noise to cause erroneous touches.

With an amplified signal, the IC controller will be able to detect touches more sensitively than before without false touches getting in the mix. This provides advantages in that touches can be detected through gloves, thick glass or plastic coverings, or airgaps in the touch panels that are not optically bonded.

What Are the Applications of Displays with Differential Mutual Technology?

With an increased signal gain, screens are more sensitive to actual touches while reducing the chance for false touches which is something that typically can’t be achieved with regular touch panels. The following are some of the advantageous situations where differential mutual touch screens can be applied in home appliances.

1. ) Displays on appliances can be interacted with through thick gloves. This is particularly useful for kitchen appliances. Oven gloves or mittens are very thick to protect the wearer from hot kitchen utensils and cookware. Interacting with a display through the material of an oven mitten tends to be impossible for regular displays. Differential mutual touch panels will be able to sense touch input through the material of a glove, improving the user experience. This can apply particularly for displays on stovetops or ovens.

2.) Appliances can incorporate thicker protective layers. Whether glass or plastic, there is a limit to how thick the layer on a regular touch screen can be. This implies reduced durability. With thicker cover lenses, appliances are more durable. This is particularly important for appliances that may bear weight such as cookers. Previously, touch panels would not be able to detect touches through such thick cover lenses, but this technology makes it a possibility.

3.) Allows for multi-touch support in previously unsupported conditions. Displays that previously allowed input with gloves were usually not able to support multiple touches, as a caveat. In this case, multi-touch input can work just as well through thick cover lenses or with gloves on. This allows for gestures such as pinching to zoom, rotate, and more.

4.) Improved touch input for optically bonded touch screens. Optically bonded touch screens are clearly superior to touch displays with air gaps. This process provides added value in many ways, including superior readability and visual quality, better heat dissipation, and removing the chance for condensation below the cover lens. In addition to all of this, differential mutual technology will improve the already stellar touch sensitivity. This gives users the absolute best user experience, which is something manufacturers want to achieve with their LCD displays.

With the patent for differential mutual technology in touch screens already in place, manufacturers of home appliances can start thinking of how to apply this technology to their products. It will allow for an improved user experience, expanded functionality, and more innovative designs. It also opens up the potential for reduced production and repair costs, which transfer to the consumer.

Giving your customers a flawless experience with your products, and at a reasonable cost, is essential. This builds brand loyalty and improves your reputation. By giving your customers products that react to their touch the way they should, they will definitely stick with you and your company.

We can provide cutting-edge LCD displays and touch screens for your products to enable them to stand out from the competition. Together, we can keep your customers loyal and satisfied.

About E3 Displays

We’re a global design and manufacturing company that helps the world’s most innovative companies define the future of their business display needs. With over 20 years of combined experience in display technology, E3 Displays has everything you need to develop and manufacture your custom touch display all in one place. With customer-centric solutions featuring strategic planning, competitive pricing, longevity, and support, we ensure the best products on the market to help you scale. In the end, displays are a centerpiece in any hardware that provides a very important visual message in your product. We want to ensure that the visual entity exceeds your optical and performance requirements.

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