The race is on — to develop new cell phones, touch-panel devices, appliances, and other products that are more exciting and more fun to use. One component that is making a difference, and giving new devices an attractive, velvety feel while making them easier to use is touch sensors. Touch sensor developers have made several major improvements and changes in this area recently that can help a wide variety of new products exceed consumer expectations. These devices typically use capacitive sensors to create the ‘touch’ surface. Most capacitive sensors do not need to be actually touched, just bringing something close will trigger them. However, traditional capacitive sensors have some drawbacks. They typically activate only with non-metallic materials, they may not work well with gloves, and they can be falsely triggered by water. Even with these limitations, capacitive sensors work well for many consumer applications.

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