The use of touch panels for input and control is expected to grow, however, there are many situations where people feel either physically or psychologically uneasy about touching a panel because they wonder who else might have touched it, or because it is dirty, or their own hands are dirty. Visitors to medical facilities, for example, might be concerned about the risk of contracting a disease from an item because they do not know who has touched it. Some people might have a distaste for dirty surfaces on ticket machines in train stations or flush buttons on toilets in public facilities. Others might want to avoid operating a home appliance while eating sweets with their hands or while cooking in the kitchen. In situations like these, touch panels could potentially lose their convenience factor.
The touchless control panel proposed by Alps Alpine, incorporates the benefits of touch panels while providing safe and easy control along with peace of mind. An original high-sensitivity capacitive sensor detects the approach of a hand in a series of steps – detecting the presence of a hand within 10 centimeters from the panel; the actual position of the hand within 5 centimeters; and the positions of fingers within 3 centimeters. Detected data is processed using Alps Alpine’s original algorithm to realize diverse forms of control based on gestures or finger position. The panel also allows touch operation. The system is designed so features and information on the display change with the distance of the hand or finger and the type of operation. It also incorporates sound feedback, allowing intuitive operation even by first-time users. Alps Alpine aims to commercialize the touchless control panel in around 2021.
Alps Alpine – www.alpsalpine.com