Touch Screen Technology

Touch Screen Technology

“When we went looking for a designer to help us upgrade some of our products to touchscreen control, we got a lot of “too expensive” and “too complicated” responses from groups we had used in the past. We were happily surprised to find Thomas Instrumentation nearby. They had the knowledge and experience in touchscreen technology we needed to give our products a competitive edge. No longer did we have to compromise on what we really wanted. Thomas delivered exactly what we had in mind. Customer feedback to our new products has been very positive.” – Christopher Meyers

Christopher Meyers | Lead Engineer, Product Innovations | Wheaton Industries, Inc.

With the popularity in touch screen systems growing, Thomas Instrumentation decided to develop a low-cost, highly-customizable, quality touch screen controller for its customers. The system has a fast power initialization time, displays data in near real-time, and can be configured to meet specific interface designs. It is capable of functioning as either a complex control system for a product or as a simple user interface which communicates with a product’s existing controller.

The control system of our product, known as the CPU board, contains an LPC2478 processor with 16 MB of external RAM and 8 MB of external flash. It has the capability to communicate with other devices or be remotely monitored via I2C, SPI, CAN, Ethernet, and Serial (RS422/RS485/RS232). It contains a Micro SD slot and a USB port that can be used for updating firmware and storing data logs. The USB port can also be used to print information directly to ASCII compliant USB printers.

The actual touch screen display is available in a variety of sizes and technology types. Our standard displays are a 4.3” Widescreen and a 7” Widescreen that both utilize resistive touch technology. With the modularity of our system, it is easy for us to accommodate various other display sizes. We can also provide capacitive touch solutions for customers that desire a multi-touch interface. All of our touch screen systems include software to display a screen saver that constantly changes position and dims the backlight after a period of non-use. These features prevent screen burn-in, conserve energy, and greatly increase the lifespan of the display.

At a customer’s request, we can develop an application specific input/output board to provide an interface through which the touch screen display can control systems or measure parameters. The following includes examples of some of the functions for which we currently provide solutions:

  • Motor Drives (BLCD, Stepper, DC)
  • Temperature Sensing (Solid State, Thermocouple, RTD)
  • Pressure/Vacuum Sensing
  • Weight Sensing (Load Cells)
  • Proximity Sensing (Inductive, Capacitive)
  • A/D and D/A Conversions (0-10V in/out, 4-20mA in/out)
  • Piezos for alarm conditions

If interested in adding this product to your system, please contact us. We can provide you with custom solutions and designs which will stand out in today’s touch screen world.