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Large scale interactive multi-touch displays

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - iBoard (Large scale interactive multi-touch displays)

Reporting period: 2014-11-01 to 2015-04-30

Our objective is to achieve the dream of an enjoyable Big Screen Multi-Touch Experience.

Alterix Ltd based in Cambridge, UK, is now offering a Windows 10 certified electronic solution for large size capacitive multi-touch digitisers. Our patented inherently low‐cost discrete electronics solution is capable of achieving a hundred‐fold increase in the measurement speed compared to the common touch interfaces used in tablet PCs. Our solution scales easily to large sensors with diagonals up to 105” and is compatible with the flat‐panel TVs with which the future of interactive displays lies. The raw data are processed within the electronics in order to reject touch events from large objects and to calculate and send to the computer using standard HID driver the relevant information about individual touches initiated by either fingers or a stylus.

Our electronics is developed by using readily available discrete components which allows scaling up the production of electronics starting from the low prototype volumes.

The goal of the project was to improve our technology capabilities, develop IP position in China, establish channels to the market for our technology, develop market intelligence, and to confirm feasibility of rapidly scaling up the business opportunity for serving the Asian supply chain for the novel interactive multi-touch TV display products.
In order to establish Alterix as a part of the supply chain we have developed relationships with the big brands, ODM manufacturers, LCD panel manufacturers, and major touch module suppliers. We have carried out more than 40 face-to-face meetings with companies in Taiwan, Korea, Japan, China, Europe, and US. We are already in active evaluation trials with five touch panel manufacturers with 27”, 55”, 65”, and 70” touch panels for interactive TV products. In addition we have identified multiple immediate opportunities to soft-start the emerging market for large scale TV displays with the near term annual volumes of up to 200,000 panels for diagonal sizes equal or above 55”.

We are continuously developing our IP and improving the technical performance of our sensing solution. During the reporting period we have achieved several major milestones for improvement of our technology which had allowed us to enter into the trials for 27” interactive displays for All-in-One PC market with the immediate volumes up to 1,000,000 interactive displays annually.
Our current development is focused on extending the ‘smart pad’ experience to large scale monitors such as 27” wide monitors, 34” ultra-wide monitors, and interactive TV displays with diagonal sizes up to 70”. The electronics for the larger diagonal size 84” TV display is ready for production trials with the customers but this development is of secondary importance waiting for the required reduction of the manufacturing price of the metal-mesh technology for touch panels with the diagonal size above 70”.

The market for interactive whiteboards (IWB) is worth more than $2 billion per annum mainly serving schools and other educational establishments. By the end of this year the global population of installed whiteboards will exceed 10 million with about 2 million new IWB products sold each year. Preliminary data show that interactive flat panel displays based on optical touch technology are starting to take market share from interactive whiteboards accounting for 50% of sales in UK in Q1 2015. Our technology, by providing a true multi-touch experience, much better stylus support, and the cost-performance needed for the educational market, will help disrupt this trend and will allow interactive TV panels based on capacitive touch technology to rapidly win a major share of the global interactive display market.

The market for monitors with integrated touch is rapidly developing in the enterprise sector with the Federal Cloud Computing Initiative in the US. The cloud computing concept is evolving into the platform-as-a-service and is now supported by several other government agencies including the one in UK, Canada, and Japan. In a near future more and more monitors will be used as a display terminal to a virtual computer in the cloud. Such monitors will likely use a multi-touch for user interface and can be considered as a logical evolution of the All-in-One computer concept. The market for such interactive display terminals will exceed tens of millions of units annually in the enterprise market with the most popular monitor diagonal sizes of about 27”.

It is possible to expect a similar transformation of a Smart TV product into interactive monitors connected to a virtual computer in the cloud. Such interactive 55” diagonal size monitors located in the living room of a typical house will be used as a universal entertainment centre for consuming various on-line content including games, streaming video, and TV-programs.

Our technology provides a key missing component which enables to serve these emerging markets. It will result in a better user experience, more efficient interaction with computers, and in an improved quality of providing education materials in schools.
Drawing with fingers – the adjacent palm does not trigger any touch event