How to Better Add Touch Function to Home Appliances?

Label:Home Appliances, Human-machine Interface, Touch Buttons

Aug 20, 20215960

How to Better Add Touch Function to Home Appliances?

Five years ago, it was only a concept to equip kitchen appliances and laundry appliances with touch screens. Today, at least for a few high-end appliances, white goods with touch screens have become a reality. With the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), the future trend is to gradually integrate touch screens into more and lower-cost appliances. For users, driven by the Internet connection and application-supporting functions, the touch screen human-machine interface (HMI) can solve a variety of work environment problems while ensuring a beautiful appearance.

 

Use Capacitive Touch Technology in Appliances

 

Capacitive touch technology is mainly applied to touch buttons, sliders and scroll wheels. As a replacement product of mechanical buttons and knobs, it is widely used in various white goods. In addition to reducing system costs, capacitive touch technology can also improve reliability, because over time, mechanical buttons or knobs are more likely to be damaged, and water and grease that are common in kitchens and laundry rooms will stick to it. However, the surface of the touch sensor is covered with glass or plastic, which is easy to clean and supports various fashionable designs.

 

These common advantages of touch buttons and sliders are suitable for capacitive touch HMI touch screens, enabling users to communicate with electrical appliances and the Internet. In addition, Internet of Things appliances connected to the Internet bring key advantages to appliance manufacturers, including:

 

1. Remote maintenance;

2. Suppliers use data mining to understand user patterns;

3. Power management-synchronize high-current appliances to avoid spikes on the power cord;

4. Firmware update for remote defect repair and product improvement.

 

At the same time, the Internet of Things connection brings many advantages to users, helping manufacturers to promote and sell home appliances that support touch screens, including:

 

1. Download cooking instructions, recipes and best practices for certain products;

2. Washing powder and dosage, setting the washing machine (even according to the type of washing powder or liquid detergent) and troubleshooting;

3. Firmware update to add new features and improve performance;

4. Weather, news and stock updates.

However, in order to provide the above advantages for suppliers and users, some design issues must be resolved.

 



Choose the Right Touch Controller/Sensor/Screen

 

For kitchen appliances and laundry room appliances, various screen sizes will be used according to the size of the appliance. For example, the display of a coffee machine is 3 inches, the display of a microwave oven, stove, and washing machine is 5 inches, and the display of a refrigerator and freezer can reach 22 inches or more.

 



In the electrical supply chain, chip suppliers and sensor suppliers cooperate to provide chip and sensor design. They complete the system integration together. Usually, module/display manufacturers integrate systems including touch sensors and touch interfaces, and then provide them to electrical manufacturers. This example illustrates how today's semiconductor suppliers provide not only chips, but also system adjustments and system improvements, making chips easier to use in the entire supply chain.

 

Summary

 

Appliance manufacturers plan to use the capabilities of the Internet of Things. To this end, it is necessary to provide a method for reading and inputting information, and the touch screen is the most ideal solution. Using a suitable touch controller, electrical appliances can provide Internet connection, and achieve noise resistance, moisture resistance, and glove operation.

 


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