Stadium IGT Bespoke Capacitive Touch Screen Chosen for Outside Broadcast Vehicles

Stacey Vinther HMI

Stadium IGT, one of the UK’s longest established Human Machine Interface (HMI) Solutions providers, is supplying a world leader in broadcast technology a with a custom designed LED backlit touchscreen featuring capacitive switching.

Stadium IGT is unique in its ability to provide its patented thin-film backlighting on its range of scalable, wire-free, vandal and water resistant custom capacitive touchscreens. Capacitive touchscreens have many advantages in both consumer and industrial MMI/HMI interfaces and are widely used in applications including mobile phones, MP3 players, PDAS, home entertainment, home automation systems and brown and white goods.

Their use in industrial applications has been limited until now due to small screen size, low screen resolution and a lack of visual clarity imposed by the commonly used wire matrix technology. Using its extensive experience to overcome the limitations of this traditional approach, Stadium IGT has developed capacitive touchscreens in custom sizes up to 19″, with a node count up to 256 (16 x 16) and bespoke interfaces to suit host equipment.

The most recent Stadium IGT development combines, in one thin layer, capacitive switching and multi-colour area-specific backlighting. Traditionally, it has been extremely difficult to combine the two technologies because the electric field from a conventional electro-luminescent light source, which requires high voltage excitation, has interfered with the capacitive operation. Stadium-IGT has overcome this problem through the use of remote LEDs and thin light guides embedded into the capacitive sensing flexible layer. The completed assembly is less than 1mm thick and, by successfully combining these two leading-edge technologies, secret-until-lit areas, colour changes on key operation and colour-coded visual directions can be given to the operator.

This combination of leading-edge technologies led to Snell, a world leader in broadcast technology, to approach Stadium-IGT with a wish-list of features they would like their new Kahuna Maverik modular outside broadcast system.

The Snell Kahuna Maverik is an innovative new modular control surface. Easily adaptable to multiple events and event types, Maverik can save valuable space within space-restricted outside broadcast vehicles, giving ultimate flexibility and comprehensive control. The product offers ground-breaking new architecture, total customization, crystal clear OLED buttons with user-assignable thumbnails, touchscreen at the M/E level for instant functionality selection, high resolution and intuitive user function buttons for easy effect recognition and the ability to change or add individual panel segments.

Terry Moss, Stadium IGT Sales Director comments, “Snell required a clean, modern switch surface, with a custom multi-touch touchscreen and RGB backlit capacitive switching for their GUI unit. Stadium-IGT’s innovative and patented thin film backlighting was used for their T-Bar unit. Our design engineers assisted Snell from the outset with material selection, mechanical and electrical design parameters and PCB design.”

Working closely with the engineers at Snell Stadium IGT designed and built a number of prototypes which included light models, prototype touchscreens and ultimately fully functional preproduction units of both the GUI and T-Bar products. Now entering full production Snell has now launched the system and it will debut for the first time during April 2014 at NAB in Las Vegas, the world’s largest media technology show.

Terry Moss continues, “Stadium IGT is a market leader in the design and manufacture of user interface systems. Our capacitive switching solutions offering tri-colour LED thin film illumination with selective area backlighting are unique. We are also happy to integrate other styles of operator interfaces into our keyboards including joysticks, rollerballs, glide pads, touchscreens and conventional tactile and non-tactile keypads, allowing us to offer our customers very flexible solutions to their control needs.”

ln style-driven applications where appearance and functionality are equally important, this versatile innovative technology from Stadium-IGT provides a new, user-friendly product interface that offers a sleek, bezel-free appearance and outstanding user feedback combined with excellent reliability and long life due to the absence of moving parts.

Capacitive touchscreen technology and capacitive switching combined with selective thin film backlighting from Stadium IGT offers users numerous advantages over other forms of HMI including increased security. The touchscreen will work behind a protective overlay layer up to 20 mm thick. When mounted to the rear face of a glass, polycarbonate or acrylic front panel HMI units are resistant to both accidental and deliberate damage, enabling them to be used in public-facing applications such as information kiosks and self-service ticketing machines. The control surface does not have to be flat, so the MMI/HMI assembly can be embedded into more ergonomic and aesthetically attractive units.

Stadium IGT capacitive switching solutions can be sealed to lP66 against the ingress of dust or water, enabling them to be installed and used outdoors or in dusty industrial applications where the screens can be successfully operated while wearing a thick glove.

Customers can specify the sensitivity of their Stadium IGT capacitive keyboard and to prevent operator errors adjacent key suppression can be enabled, a particular advantage in very high sensitivity units.

Stadium IGT are happy to develop a custom software interface to suit the end equipment to be controlled and units with USB, l2C, SPl, UART and other standard interfaces have been developed.

The market-leading thin-film backlight technology from Stadium-IGT allows selective illumination of keys or icons that can be used to guide operators through programming options by highlighting only the valid key choices. Simple animation effects can communicate the device’s operating mode. Backlighting that changes colour on key operation can be created by simply using bi or tri-colour LEDS to power the light guide, a feature often used to indicate the operating mode.

Light blocking features can be added to give high optical isolation and good contrast between segments. Conductive pads or tracking for capacitive and other switch technologies are printed within the light guide structure and a top graphic or diffusing material as added.

About Snell

Snell is a world leader in broadcast technology, providing the media and broadcast industry with a comprehensive range of software and hardware solutions. With over 30 years’ experience at the forefront of broadcast engineering, and over 100 awards for technical innovation, Snell supports the industry and our customers through significant technical transformations, such as analogue to digital, SD to HD to 1080p and support for 3D production.