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 moiré, 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.