Synaptics Pushes Touch Envelope With ForcePad
Synaptics has rolled out technology it hopes will be a force to be reckoned with in the mobile computing world. It's called ForcePad and it's the company's next generation of TouchPad solutions.
ForcePad is a multi-finger, capacitive TouchPad with what Synaptics calls variable force detection and a large "modern touchpad" gesture area.
Synaptics said its ForcePad would redefine touch interaction for notebook and desktop PC users. Analysts said Synaptics is not just blowing smoke with its latest innovation.
ForcePad adds a new dimension of control by leveraging capacitive image sensing technology that detects the pressure of five fingers with up to 1,000 grams of dynamic range in force sensitivity. The company said ForcePad's ability to detect varying amounts of pressure per finger enables new usage paradigms in virtually every software genre.
Godfrey Cheng, vice president of marketing for Synaptics PC Division, said ForcePad is the most significant development in technology since Synaptics invented the first TouchPad in 1995.
Roger Kay, principal analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, got hands-on with the new technology and told us it performed "beautifully."
"ForcePad has five dimensions, not just XYZ. It also has F for force and W for width, so it actually has measures for how much finger pad you are actually encountering and how hard you touched it," Kay said.
"Synaptics has taken the X-Y grid of transmitters and receivers and they've put them on the same plane on the glass substrate. You can change the pressure of your fingers while they are on the pad and you can watch those columns moving up and down. They move immediately when you change any pressure at all. It's very rapid feedback."
ForcePad features a universal auto-calibration capability for adjusting to varying notebook designs with variable flex tolerances. There are no mechanical hinges or tactile button switches....
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