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Hitachi Touchscreen Allows Use of Gloves, Pens

Hitachi Displays has reportedly created a projection-type, multi-touch panel capable of detecting cloth, plastic and other insulators, eliminating the need for direct skin-to-surface electrical contact.

For consumers, the new Hitachi display means users can select icons on the screen using gloves, a fingernail, and even use a plastic pen for handwritten input. Previously projection-type designs only worked with bare skin and special styluses.

According to the specs, the new display has a 10-inch size limit, allows only two to three points at a time, provides a 10ms to 16ms response time (depending on the screen size), and allows 90-percent of the light through from the screen underneath. Power consumption and durability is the same as conventional projection-type panels.

Nikkei Electronics Asia reports that Hitachi wouldn't disclose the technology behind the new display, however engineers made sure that its thickness and size remained consistent with current touch screens even with the added components for detecting insulating objects. Hitachi said the new screen also uses new algorithms for detection.

Currently Hitachi is offering samples for evaluation. The company hopes to sell both touch panels and complete modules with LCD panels included. Additional reports also indicate that the display could make its way to Apple's iOS devices in 2011, however it's likely to be incorporated into every touch screen device in the next year.