Let’s take a look at the modern kitchen and the interaction we have with it today. If you where to standing in the middle of a modern kitchen, or even the local appliance store, you would find that mass about of buttons, knobs, colors displays, buttons that light up, make sounds, and even disappear when not needed. This could borders on overload for some.
When I look at the modern appliances, one vision that I remember as kid growing up was my Grandmother cooking lunch for me. It was not a fancy lunch, usually grilled cheese and soup, but the vision of her standing there with her apron on, oversized oven mitts, and wooden spoon in one hand will never leave my mind. The stove she used was not fancy, but efficient in how the user interacted with it with simple knobs that she could turn to adjust the temperature of the cooking surface.
Today, the style of the appliance is an important aspect when selecting one. Does it have buttons that light up, or is it stainless steel. What about a solid surface to clean? These are some of the items that my Grandmother would look at today. So how do you operate one of these modern cook top will still keeping your hands inside the oven mitts or even use the wooden spoon to press the off button? The answer to this question is simple…Inductive touch .
Image if you will a Grandmother standing in front of the stove as a child has just come in out of the cold from building a snowman in anticipation of warm soup. The Grandmother has on the classic oven mitts, as she just finished making chocolate chip cookies, and is stirring the soup as it begins to boil over the top of the pot. Instantly she reacts and uses the end of the spoon to press the off key while removing the pot from the hot burner.
The cook top that she is using has single face plate made of stainless steel for the control buttons. These buttons are etched or silk-screened on the faceplate providing the elegant look and feel demand by today’s consumers. But how was she able to use the end of the spoon to control the buttons. The inductive touch solution is a complement to the capacitive touch solutions out there today. Capacitive solutions make use of the person to change the value of a capacitor and this is hard to do with a wooden spoon. While the wooden spoon will not work for capacitive, it will work with inductive touch.
Inductive touch makes use of the metal or in this example the stainless steel ability to move. The movement is so small that the consumer will not even know that it is moving as it only moves about 10 – 20 microns. That is less than 1/1000 of an inch. This movement is sensed by a circuit that is mounted behind the user interface panel. Once the movement is sensed and debounced, the rest of the operation is the same as if there was a mechanical or capacitive button in the design.
Inductive touch technology is not a replacement for capacitive touch, but one that will work in different environments. For example capacitive touch can sense a finger just slightly above the user surface, where inductive can not. On the other side, when you clean capacitive buttons you will be pressing the buttons as you wipe across them. This is not the case with inductive touch as you need to physically press the button to create the deflection.
Now that I have introduced inductive touch to the blog, we will be adding further blogs talking more about the technology itself and some of the other uses for it.