By Solid State Technology
Smart, less-expensive touchscreens bring interactive learning to the classroom
June 26, 2012 -- At Display Week this month in Boston, I spent some time with Stantum, a touchscreen development company, speaking with Guillaume Largillier, founder and chief strategy officer and Robert Pelissier, chief executive officer. Stantum had recently announced a major partnership with Nissha Printing Co. Ltd. , but the conversation revolved around the many enabling roles that this well-designed touchscreen can play, particularly for the education market.
This isn't the first time education applications have come up in a conversation about displays -- Mariquita Gordon of Texas Instruments referred to the educational display market as an opportunity outside of the traditional realm when I spoke with her a few months ago.
Stantum's Largillier and Pelissier pointed out that touchscreens can do much more than replace a mouse and computer monitor -- multitouch and connectivity allow students to interact with teachers and manipulate information on their screens to learn in a more natural and engaged way. Technology in a classroom is no guarantor of success, but technology that brings students into the lesson can vastly improve understanding and information retention. We spent some time in StantumÃ¢ÂÂs demo room at the show playing with the touchscreens, experiencing the different touch inputs' enabling properties.
FineTouch Z multi-touch touchscreen technology is able to combine -- on one sensor -- finger and passive stylus input. FineTouch Z is powered by Stantum's Interpolated Voltage Sensing Matrix (iVSM) touch-and-write technology. This is a less expensive combination than finger + active stylus (electro-magnetic or a battery-powered) technologies, which use electromagnetic resonance (EMR) sensors on the bottom of the panel and projected capacitance (PROCAP) sensors on the top. It also results in a simpler and thinner display. FineTouch Z boasts optical clarity and works with any type of conductive or non-conductive object, Stantum reports.
The stylus and finger input combine to enable content creation or highlighting on a device -- for example a tablet in a classroom -- much like a user would work on paper. As many as 10 simultaneous touches can be combined with high-resolution handwriting input. The interactivity inherent in electronics leads to project sharing, note taking, and textbook replacement all on one display.
Stantum's representatives pointed out that countries -- Brazil and Turkey to name a few -- are seeking solutions to phase out paper textbooks. If touch technologies can bring the enhanced performance, reliability, and price benefits in one simple package, the education market could be a high-volume and enduring end-use sector.
-- Meredith Courtemanche, digital media editor, email@example.com