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SMK Corp developed a resistive touch panel equipped with a proximity sensor that detects an approaching hand and released it.

The sensor is targeted at office equipment such as copy machines and printers as well as automotive and medical devices.

The sensor comes with (1) a resistive touch panel that detects pressures applied by a finger or stylus pen as inputs and (2) a proximity sensor function that supports the "Hover" function and enables to operate the panel without directly touching it.

By moving a hand closer to the touch panel, it is possible to turn on the screen, switch to the screen for accepting inputs, etc. Also, the touch panel can be used as a noncontact switch. The detection range of the proximity sensor can be set within the range from 0 to 50mm.

The proximity sensor function can be combined with SMK's controller chips and film/glass (or glass/glass) resistive touch panels. When it is combined with a glass touch panel that detects light weights, it realizes an operation that is as smooth as the operation of a smartphone.

The panel sizes supported by the sensor are from 2.5 to 10.1 inches. As an interface, SMK employed I2C. It can be mass-produced with a rate of 200,000 units per month (in the case of 7-inch panel).