Smartphone Technology Comes to Rugged Logistics Computers

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Capacitive touchscreen technology has been used in consumer devices for years, so we are all familiar with its scratch resistant properties, and the superior user experience it enables compared to older resistive technology.

However, it’s also common knowledge that consumer smartphones and tablets don’t function well if you’re wearing gloves, or if the screen is wet or cold. So, is there a way to take advantage of capacitive touch technology in demanding environments that are currently stuck with resistive screens?

The answer is: Yes! By integrating the latest industry version of projected capacitive touch (PCT) in a unique way, users will benefit from the capacitive technology even in very tough environments. This implementation of the technology has solved the problems that consumer-grade capacitive touchscreens have, making it fully functional even in wet conditions, with or without gloves and with a stylus. There are many compelling reasons for logistics and warehousing customers to choose a hardened rugged PCT screen. Here are the top five:

1. It’s virtually unbreakable

The number one reason customers choose PCT technology is its outstanding ruggedness. Rugged PCT touchscreen sensors are covered with a layer of chemically toughened glass, making them virtually unbreakable. Wear and tear is a thing of the past as they are completely scratch resistant. Computer terminal screens used to be the most common point of failure for the devices, but not anymore – rugged touchscreens mean less downtime, minimised interruptions in operation, reduced service cost and lower total cost of ownership.

2. Operate it wet or dry, or even with gloves

Using the latest PCT technology and integrating it differently to consumer-grade capacitive touch sensors means rugged PCT screens can be used also when wearing most types of ordinary gloves. Imagine the time saved by not having to remove gloves every time the computer is used!

Outdoor and wet environments are also not a problem. Rugged PCT uses advanced control firmware which filters out unwanted signals caused by water droplets on the screen, which would otherwise confuse the sensor. This ensures that correct touches are registered first time, every time while frustrating phantom touches are ignored, ensuring fast, reliable data input.

3. It’s flexible

Capacitive touchscreens have the power to transform the way users interact with computers, by adding a whole new world of richness and flexibility to human machine interface design. 

Unlike old fashioned mechanical buttons or keypads, PCT screens open up flexible interfaces such as virtual keyboards which are customisable for the task at hand, perhaps by displaying only the most-used keys. The virtual keyboard concept can drastically increase user productivity and efficiency while making terminals more compact and preserving overall design integrity. Previous attempts at using this technology with resistive touchscreens typically failed because the screens wore out in the areas where the most commonly used keys were located. Since PCT isn’t susceptible to wear and tear, it’s an ideal partner for virtual keyboard technology.

With the availability of a rugged version of capacitive touch, challenging application environments such as industrial and logistics can now take advantage of this modern, state-of-the-art technology.

4. It’s responsive

PCT enables a very fast response which means that after touching the screen the response appears to be instantaneous. This responsiveness is unparalleled for computers in the industrial and logistics sectors.

Users are always delighted by the experience of using rugged PCT terminals as it’s so similar to the fast and responsive consumer electronics touchscreens they are used to in their daily lives.

5. Familiar gestures work

Familiar gestures that everyone is used to from smartphones and tablets are perfectly possible with PCT. The technology supports multiple touch functionality, which includes pinch/spread to zoom, flick to scroll, tap and hold, drag and drop, and many more. Again, this adds layers of richness to software applications, and combined with the speedy responsiveness, makes for an unforgettable user experience.

Per Holmberg

Per Holmberg is CEO at JLT Mobile Computers AB, a leading developer of rugged mobile computers for demanding environments.

Comments (1)

    Dec 14, 2017 at 05:52 AM

    These features are what consumers really need. We are waiting for new products in the future.

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