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Would your new keyboard designs benefit from Capacitive Switching?

"Touch" technology is increasingly becoming the HMI technology of choice, regardless of the market sector. Technology such as capacitive switching and touchscreen offers unique solutions to HMI challenges.

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09/12/2021
capacitive switches technology

Would your new keyboard designs benefit from Capacitive Switching?

Technology is always progressing driven by market needs. RH has built a reputation for offering solutions to many design challenges in a range of market sectors. We review every design individually to find the right solution whether it is membrane keypads, silicone rubber keypads, touchscreens or capacitive switches. This blog touches on one of the latest technologies, capacitive switching and how it can help with specific project needs.

“Touch” technology is increasingly becoming the HMI technology of choice, regardless of the market sector. Technology such as capacitive switching and touchscreen offers unique solutions to HMI challenges. They are especially useful where compact design* and data feedback** are vital to the concept design specification. Capacitive switching offers operational functionality that can’t be achieved through traditional mechanical keyboard construction.

Touch controls are far more intuitive to the user’s operation than a traditional switching system. “Touch” technology is already standard in many everyday products. Items such as mobile phones, domestic appliances, lighting, and heating controls now often feature capacitive switching and touchscreens since they offer greater information feedback leading to a better user experience. When incorporating this technology into your product it also offers greater control and reliability essential to hi-tech systems and instruments as demanded by medical, military, and industrial equipment OEMs, providing their products with a critical advantage.

What Is a Capacitive Switch?

A capacitive switch is a type of touch-controlled electrical switch that detects capacitance or electrical charge changes. When a switching area is touched, the natural electrical charge from a person’s finger is recognised, increasing the capacitance, activating the switch. At the heart of the electronics is an IC processor that registers any change in voltage operating the key.

Diagram of capacitive switch technology

What are the Benefits of Capacitive switching?

Capacitive Switching offers a wide range of solutions to varied project demands and applications. Compared to traditional mechanical switches, capacitive switching provides a higher level of control and protection to your device. Therefore, if your product requires extra security, environmental or hygiene protection, Capacitive Switching could be the right solution.

Creating safeguards for your product, you can place a touch switch behind a protective layer. Sensitivity through different mediums means the capacitance of your touch will even work through a few millimetres of robust plastic or glass. This layer doesn’t even need to be translucent as the electrical current will also work through opaque mouldings, protecting it from the environment, dirt, liquids, or vandalism. This sensitivity through different mediums also means the product design is not compromised, as in other traditional switching systems. With traditional switches, your design may be very much controlled by the limitations inherent to this older technology.

A capacitive switch, having no moving parts, generally has a much longer lifespan when compared to its mechanical counterpart. Capacitive switching also offers design flexibility, whether it’s a single touch switch through to multiple switches with slide/swipe controls, all illuminated by LED driven backlighting.

Note:

*. Compact Design – A capacitive Switch doesn’t include the multiple layers of moving parts that a standard switch contains. Therefore, your product design may be slimmer or smaller.

**. Data Feedback – Capacitive switches can use the X and Y input data for displaying operational status. For Example, Like showing a selected sliding percentage of speed that an on/off switch cannot possibly display.

For further information on Capacitive touch Switch solutions, including a product demonstration, please contact or customer service team. On email at sales@rhti.co.uk or call us on 01264 721450.