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touchscreen ?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Neil, Feb 19, 2004.

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  1. Neil

    Neil Guest

    Ok, this may not be the group to ask this question, but since the people on
    here so knowledgeable...I thought I would give it a spin. I work in a VERY
    dirty industrial repair area, and I would like to set up a touchscreen
    monitor for the repair guys to look up parts diagrams, and schematics.
    Unfortunately the mouse and keyboard get very dirty in this environment, so
    I would like to know if its possible to set up a touchscreen based database.
    what software and hardware should I be looking at for such a installation?
  2. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    Why not use an industrial keyboard with a touch-pad instead of mouse-ball.
    Search on 'industrial keyboard' and look for one with a touch-pad included.
    As an example:

  3. RDP makes a nice touch screen unit, with a fold out key board. Runs XP. Sealed keyboards. Heavy construction. Tuff. You can put it
    on the shop floor.
    USA and UK

    Have fun
  4. Do the guys a favour and give them an *optical* mouse, and a cheap
    keyboard. Replace the mouse every year, and the keyboard every 4 months.
    That's less than $100 a year.
  5. There are several technologies that are suitable for pointing devices in
    such environments. Touchscreens, touchpads, membrane keyboards, etc.

    You will have to evaluate each one in conjunction with the application
    user interface. An interface which requires a lot of keyboard entry will
    be the biggest challenge. Even membrane keyboards will be less than
    ideal. If there isn't much typing to do, then the membrane keyboard will
    suffice. Or you could eliminate the keyboards and emulate the keyboard
    on screen (operable with a pointing device, mouse, touch screen, etc.).
    You will also have to consider the size and complexity of the screen
    menus if you go to a touch screen. It is difficult for operators to use
    a touch screen (and smaller touch pads) if the menu items were designed
    for mouse operation. I've seen touch screen systems with pull down menus
    that were difficult to use with a mouse, let alone fat fingers.

    I've seen a rather interesting mouse replacement which consisted of a
    joystick and buttons (all environmentally sealed). It didn't take long
    for the operators to get used to moving the mouse pointer around the
    screen with the joystick instead of a mouse or trackball. But we still
    had to keep the number of screen 'buttons' down and their size big
    enough so aiming the mouse didn't become a precision skill.
  6. JeffM

    JeffM Guest

    I work in a VERY dirty industrial repair area,
    Brillant. Its contamination-free nature
    (bottom only--no ball) hadn't even occured to me.

    Yup. No need to go exotic on this one.
    I've this seen solved hundreds of times
    using a silicone cover (a skin) for the keyboard.
    With a skin, the need for replacement won't be due to schmutz;
    it will because of impatient guys banging on the keys.
    (I confess. I'm one of those.)

    ....and Neil, what were you going to do about
    all the greasy fingerprints (which will quickly obscure the screen)?
  7. Skins are nice, but they only fit when bought together with
    a suitable keyboard, and then you often pay a rather high
    price. Otherwise they never fit. Even the wireless keyboards
    are pretty cheap these days, and also affordable to replace.

    Remove the dirt by banging them upside down on the edge of
    the table. Don't be afraid to bang hard, replace if need
    be ;-) You can buy a ten years supply of cheap keyboards and
    still spend less money compared to a 'real' industrial keyboard.

    Only in food industry you need an expensive keyboard
    with IP67 protection or something. The cleanup guys
    break everything with their steam cleaners.
  8. In JeffM typed:
    If there is grease in the environment then it can still obscure the lens
    on the bottom of the optical mouse. I think the touch pad is better.
    I've seen them for $10.
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