DATA MODUL Press Release
Versatile hygienic operating options of DATA MODUL products
The ability to operate display based HMI devices hygienically is essential in both consumer and industrial applications. This has become increasingly important in the current pandemic-era. Hygiene requirements are especially relevant to medical products. DATA MODUL has always addressed the critical requirements of medical applications in its product development processes. Customer requirements play a crucial role in selecting the suitable components and production process steps right from the beginning of the manufacturing process in order to create a suitable hygiene-sensitive product.
Hygienic input by touch
Hygienic input by touch often represents a particular challenge. In order to implement customer wishes and at the same time comply with the legal requirements for hygienic applications, a variety of options for a touch-free or special input method of display applications can be used.
Operating with gloves
Gloves are mandatory in many industrial applications, especially in the medical sector where they provide a simple means of protection against contamination, infection or the transfer of diseases and germs. The latest capacitance measurement methods and signal processing advancements in Projected Capacitive (PCAP) technologies at DATA MODUL have enabled glove operation. Touch settings can be configured to function with thinner medical gloves such as nitrile or latex gloves or heavy industrial work glove inputs. The responsiveness to touch with or without glove is comparable. The technological advancement in PCAP controllers has also allowed touch settings to be configured to identify conductive liquid such as water, blood, sweat or disinfectant on the surface of the screen. This identification can be used to eliminate ghost touches resulting from the conductive liquid or to allow smooth touch operation despite liquid on the screen surface.
Touch pen or stylus
Another indirect method for touch operation is the use of a touch pen (stylus). On the one hand, this allows very precise input with many types of touch screen and at the same time enables operation without any direct contact between the skin and the touch display. This method guarantees germ-free operation without any loss of performance.
Contactless entry by eye tracking and gesture control
In view of higher hygiene standards and increased safety requirements, completely contactless alternatives, such as eye tracking and gesture control, are particularly interesting. Even though these “hands-free” methods will not completely replace standard touch screens, they are ideally suited for special applications in many areas where touch and potential surface contamination must be avoided. Moreover, when user’s hands are supposed to concentrate on the actual work, for instance in the medical field or specific manufacturing applications, gesture control and eye tracking can be useful additions to standard input methods.
The basic requirement for eye tracking is a system with an integrated camera. The eye movements are recorded by the integrated camera using an “eye tracker”. The eye movements are analyzed by the system and the focuses of attention are identified linked with functions, such as selection of a field. Mobile eye tracking systems are already used in HMI interactions to increase the usability and user experience of the respective applications.
Gesture control, which is more common in game consoles or the automotive area, has found its way into other applications. It has also undergone continuous development to improve its features and capabilities. For the industry, gesture control opens up new, far-reaching development potentials and fields of application: complex actions, such as zooming or swiping and rotating, can be recognized and carried out by the system via gestures without touching the screen. Especially, in the medical field, conventional input devices may often not be used to operate an application in sterile environments. Thanks to contactless interaction, these applications can be used or information can be retrieved without leaving the sterile area and disinfect again.
Components in the manufacturing process
Besides the various input methods, components must be carefully selected in the manufacturing process in order to comply with today’s hygiene standards. For example, in its manufacturing processes, DATA MODUL uses special cover glasses with properties that, due to their surface treatment, enable a reduction in surface contamination by viruses and bacteria. This complies in particular with the strict requirements of modern medical display products.
Another aspect to guarantee maximum sterility is the sealing of cover glasses to the monitor housing. Thus gap-filling is particularly important for medical touch devices. This means that the gap between the cover glass and frame created as a result of the production method is sealed, preventing the penetration of bacteria or contamination. In order to guarantee the best production quality, at DATA MODUL this process is fully automated and carried out under clean room conditions.
DATA MODUL offers various cover glass versions which fulfill the system requirements and customer demands – especially in the medical sector.
The specially developed glass impedes the settlement of bacteria thanks to a special surface coating and easy cleaning. At the same time the glass is resistant to chemical and mechanical influences as well as UV radiation. Even after long periods of use, the glass retains its full transparency and guarantees protection of the units underneath.
This special glass contains ions in the upper layers which kill up to 99% of viruses and bacteria on the glass surface and is known to withstand long and repeated usage. When the germs come into contact with the ions, their metabolism and thus the division mechanism is blocked and both viruses and bacteria die off. In addition, the coating prevents reproduction of fungi, especially in humid, warm conditions.
Requirements for hygienic operation are more important than ever in the industry. Thanks to the latest technologies and materials development, these requirements can now be met efficiently and effectively. Performance is not only affected by the selection of input method but also by the components selected in the production process. DATA MODUL, with its diverse portfolio, offers a suitable method of operation for every industry or requirement and manufactures all products in-house under the strictest hygiene standards.
About DATA MODUL
DATA MODUL AG is one of the world’s leading special suppliers for display, touch, embedded, monitor and panel PC solutions and has, since its foundation in 1972, consistently pursued the goal of providing its customers with modern, customized and individually adapted complete solutions for display technologies.
Long years of experience in the field of display, touch, embedded and system technologies have enabled the realization of customer-specific value-added services for a range of branches in our production and logistics space of approx. 45,000 m2. Our comprehensive distribution portfolio for displays, touch screens, embedded solutions and, increasingly, innovative individual developments round off this unique modular product portfolio.