Industrial designers are always looking for ways to improve user interface controls by combining functionalities of rotary switches, pushbuttons, trackballs, potentiometers, and touchscreens. In doing so, they can save on component costs and streamline the user experience. To start, it is important to look for modernize and simplify designs, while also making sure it supports applications with multiple languages or configurations.
Today’s sophisticated devices may have user interface panels with as many as twenty components controlling, tuning, or adjusting functions. For many devices, there is a clear advantage to use technology, which shrinks the user interface footprint by combining multiple devices such as touchscreens, pushbuttons, trackballs, and switches into one product – replacing all of these components with one control. For some designs it is possible for a user to adjust 3 or 5 different parameters and reduce a panel switch count from up to 10 components down to one device.
Combining and simplifying user interfaces can save money by reducing devices going into a machine. This cost reduction is not just the cost of the additional controls, but also the installation time. In addition, the right controller should be intuitive and allow anyone that uses a smartphone the ability to walk up to a machine and quickly become proficient with its interface. The ability to easily interact with a machine should reduce training time further increasing the value of modern user interface controllers.
Under the hood of new Touch Encoder technology
New Touch Encoder technology, like the Grayhill Touch Encoder, is built to survive harsh environments without sacrificing style or functionality. The Touch Encoder uses a non-contact Hall-effect sensor to provide coded output, determining the position based on feedback from the sensor. Designed with a sealed, rugged construction, it is also impact resistant and will survive environments in which other user interface devices would fail. In addition, the Touch Encoder has been engineered to have excellent haptics – providing consistent and crisp feedback to the user, and ultimately showcasing the high quality of the device or end product. The switch detent is repeatable and stable over its life in environments where it can be subjected to wide temperature ranges, electrical noise, vibration, and shock.
The Touch Encoder has a vivid high-resolution color display. It supports no-look operation, multiple configuration options, and can incorporate tap, swipe, and rotation gestures. Using the Touch Encoder makes it much easier and less costly to support multiple languages. Those transitioning from older designs can use the Touch Encoder to get a modern design with much more information than available on a monochrome or low-resolution color display.