UniPixel Updates on X-Sense Acquisition (IC14)

Jeff Hawthorne is CEO of UniPixel which makes engineered films and hard coat resins for displays. The firm has just acquired the X-Sense flexible touch film product line from Atmel.

The firm’s touch sensor is a GF2 type of configuration and is compatible with a “wide” range of controllers. There is a 5% CAGR for procap modules in volume terms, but revenue growth is likely to be slow in the market because of price declines.

Uni-Pixel is shipping to “tier one” OEMs in a number of markets. OEMs want lighter and thinner panels and touch needs to be better for pen-based displays – Hawthorne said that the Microsoft Surface is forcing others to react.

The X Touch solution allows 0.4mm Gorilla glass (Atmel announced a collaboration with Corning in April 2014 – Man. Ed.) and 0.2mm for plastic to be used. The cover glass can also be replaced with the firm’s Diamond Guard cover lens which allows very thin sensors – down to a stack of 50 microns.

The XTouch technology can use a simple pencil as a stylus and that can’t be done with in-cell touch, Hawthorne said (actually it was being shown on the show floor by JDI – Man. Ed). One of the issues for metal mesh is moir√©, but Unipixel has special mesh design that it says works with any display up to 150 ppi.

In producing the touch module, Uni-Pixel can integrate the flex cable, which makes life easier for OEMs. Some vendors don’t want to go with silver and Hawthorne claimed that Uni-Pixel is really the only mass production metal mesh at the moment.

The Diamond Guard hard resin can be supplied as a film or spray coat to offer an alternative to glass to replace the cover lens. It has 90.5% transmission and <0.6% haze.

The company expects to have a profitable 2016.