Samsung takes licence for touch-sensor technology

Peratech has licensed its pressure-sensitive touch sensor technology to Samsung for use in a new series of navigation keypads for mobile phones.

The licence is for the use of Peratech’s innovative Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) switches in five-way input devices, or Navikeys, made by Samsung Electro-mechanics that are used for menu navigation and interaction on mobile phones. Until now, these devices have usually been made using dome switches that allow current to flow when depressed giving a simple on/off operation.  By replacing the dome switches with switches made from force sensitive QTC, the resulting input device is now pressure sensitive so that as more pressure is applied to the switch, more current flows. For example, the speed of scrolling through a list or the speed of movement in a game can vary depending on how hard the switch is pressed, making interaction faster and more intuitive. 

Philip Taysom, joint-CEO of Peratech, said: “This is a very significant step for Peratech and we are delighted Samsung EM has chosen our QTC technology.  It is a huge testament to the power and potential of QTC technology to not only replace traditional switches with more reliable switches but to also add new functionality so that better, more innovative products can be created with enhanced user interaction. Samsung EM supplies components to most of the leading phone manufacturers so our technology will soon be used across a wide range of next generation phone models. In fact, a Navikey using QTC from Samsung EM is already being used in a tier-one mobile phone.”

Ho-Chul Joung, principal manager at Samsung EM, added: “The pressure sensitivity of the QTC switches changes the game when it comes to human machine interface design enabling truly 3D user interfaces to be created in small, low power devices. This three-dimensionality cannot be matched with existing resistive and capacitive technologies.”

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