Best Force-Sensing HMI/MMI Solutions Company - UK & CV Innovation Award: QTC® SP Sensors Company: Peratech Email: email@example.com Web: www.peratech.com Address: The Old Repeater Station, Brompton-onSwale, North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, DL10 7JH Phone: +44 (0) 1748 813 670
Peratech Holdco Limited Peratech is a team of passionate technologists, engineers, scientists, and problem solvers on a mission to leverage its patented QTC® sensing-technologies to create world-class, mass-producible, innovative solutions that materially improve the human-machine user experiences. We caught up with CEO Jon Stark to learn more about the firm and the solutions it provides. Peratech is a privately held company based in Richmond, North Yorkshire that provides 3D force-touch solutions for next-generation, humanmachine interfaces to some of the most exciting and innovative companies in the automotive, industrial controls, smart home, white goods, and consumer electronics markets. Jon gave us an overview of the firm’s target market and how the company’s innovative solutions fit in. “The tactile/touch-solutions industry has been dominated by capacitive-sensing technologies since the advent of the smartphone, and, most especially, the iPhone. Capacitive-sensing solutions interpolate “touch” by sampling and filtering disturbances in an electromagnetic field created by the capacitive sensor. The limitations with capacitive sensing are that capacitive sensing does not directly measure force, so any “touch actions” need very clever, power-hungry software to be detected. “The industry has known that it needs to provide a better tactile-sensing solution than capacitive sensing alone does, but, to date, there have not been viable mass-market alternatives. Peratech QTC®-based solutions are now coming to market because our base technology directly measures force, and the feedback we’ve received is that QTC®-based solutions are meeting the customer requirements in ways that capacitive and other touch solutions have not. Jon illustrates how Peratech single-point sensors also perform well when subjected to mechanical, electrical, and environmental testing. “For example, customers need to know how our sensors will perform when subjected to really high or low temperatures -- minus 40° C up to 100° C. Customers need to know how the sensors will actually perform when placed behind a
display, battery, or other component that gives off lots of electro-magnetic noise? It is our sensor performance under conditions like these that we believe make QTC®-based force-sensing a better option for HMI (Human-Machine Interfaces) going forward.” Offering innovative, reliable solutions means that the firm has to work hard to stay ahead of emerging industry developments, according to Jon. “We stay ahead of new trends by knowing that we can never rest on our laurels. We are fortunate in that we are working with a technology that is just at the beginning of its development cycle. We are developing new QTC®-based particles that, in the future, will work in a number of ink systems for highvolume, large area printing, 3-dimensional printing, both in conventional and digital production lines. “In addition, we also know that our solutions will not make a global impact unless we enable others to innovate with our materials and solutions. This is why we are continually developing new ways to prototype with our solutions. We are developing new sources of feedback in the engineering and innovation communities to continually improve our QTC®-based technologies for current and emerging needs. Again, luckily, we’re not at the boundary of our technology the way capacitive sensing is. Our ability to leverage quantum tunneling is just getting started.” Going forward, Jon outlines the firm’s plans for growth and its aims to keep up with the everevolving industry it operates in. “To meet the increased demand for a new generation of force sensing solutions that outperform legacy technologies, we are focused first on expanding the applications and solutions across a number of markets and industries.
64 l CV Technology Innovator Awards 2016
“In the near term, we will be offering a more complete, cost-effective, force touch solution with embedded graphics for HMI in the smart home, white goods, and even industrial controls markets. “Longer term, we see a future need to miniaturise our solutions and provide higher sensing-resolution. “Within the wider industry, we foresee a continual push for digital processing and other solutions to address high-value manufacturing needs. We see the need for electroactive ink systems to work on the desktop as well as on the factory floor, and, as such, we are developing our materials to meet those emerging needs.” Jon summed up the key to Peratech’s ongoing success as being its new business model of delivering a Rapid Development Service for customers with complete product-integration support going from concept to delivering costeffective, high-quality, durable, reliable, mass producible solutions. “We formed a solutions engineering team with expertise in mechanical integration, electronics system design, embedded electronics, embedded algorithms/software development, and mass-production process engineering. The team improved prototype design, production, and testing efficiencies that have dropped our development prices by a factor of 10, and shortened our prototype delivery times from 3 months to 4 weeks. In 2016, we have added embedded software development tools for customers of all sizes to design and prototype user experiences with 3D Force Touch.” Jon concluded, “It is this team of scientists, engineers, and problem solvers that embraced our mission and built a solution worthy of this award. The honour goes to them.”