Europe drives large multi-touch screen developments with 20million boost
June 18, 2012 // Nick Flaherty
European start-ups are driving new technologies for large, multi-touch screens with new investment and new technologies.
Swedish startup FlatFrog Laboratories has just raised €20million in a funding round led by new investor Intel Capital, while last week Austrian startup isiQiri demonstrated its 55in screen using a light conductive foil.
FlatFrog intends to use the funds to expand its team during 2012 to accelerate the development and commercialization of its 32in multi-touch screen (left and video below) that started shipping in May.
“Since we began developing our unique multi-touch technology more than five years ago, our goal has been to bring supreme multi-touch technologies to the mass market by providing flawless user experiences at affordable prices”, said Christer Fåhraeus, CEO, Chairman and Founder at FlatFrog. “At the right price-points and with the right technology, we believe every screen in the world will be touch-enabled. This new investment round, and the collaboration opportunities created by teaming with Intel Capital, will allow us to run even faster to reach our goal.”
By using sophisticated algorithms to track light travelling inside the cover glass of a screen, FlatFrog’s Planar Scatter Detection technology provides instant and perfect detection of up to hundreds of simultaneous touches and drags. FlatFrog’s PSD technology is based on optics instead of the traditional capacitive electronic fields used in the vast majority of today’s high-end touch-enabled mobile devices. As a result, touch screens based on PSD detect not only input from bare fingers, but also from gloved fingers, passive styli and many other common objects such as pencil erasers.
“Creating a perfect touch experience at very low price-points, in a way that is easy to manufacture and that can scale from small to very large sizes, is extremely complicated”, said Fåhraeus. “We literally have had top scientists working for years on our algorithms, opto-electronics and opto-mechanics. This new financing round will take us to a new level.”
isQiri is also looking to shake up the large format multi-touch world with the launch of its unique, patented multi-touch system, based on isiQiri’s light conductive foil. By using the foil the number of active components required to detect multi-touch is reduced by up to 75% over competing systems. In addition the use of frequency coded light as the means for detection ensures that, unlike IR and IR camera based systems the Q-Frame can work in any lighting conditions, even in direct sunlight if necessary.
“We wanted to bring a truly market leading, customer experience to the large format touch market. Q-Frame is a revolutionary design which overcomes many of the problems which affect currently available technologies but at a market leading price. It’s the slimmest, fastest, easiest to integrate and deploy, and simply the best value for money in the market,” said Austrian entrepreneur Richard Ebner, CEO of isiQiri.
The first size to hit the market will be 55in (6 touch), available in July, followed closely by 46in (6 touch), and 65in and 84in 10 touch systems.
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