Newcastle-based Zytronic is to supply rugged 55inch custom touch screens to Italian vending machine maker PharmaShop24. These are huge machines, that vend 255 over-the-counter medicines from what amounts to a small robot-automated warehouse.
To fit more product into a fixed space, PharmaShop realised that the traditional vending mechanism, where customers view products directly, was no longer appropriate. Instead, it added a thin display to the front of the machine to free up space inside. Making this a touch screen allowed the company to offer users a more intuitive interface, with swipe and touch replacing traditional letters buttons and numbers buttons.
PharmaShop had already tried this with a 120 item unit, which only needed a 21.5inch screen to display the wares inside. This time it needed a much larger screen. The question was: could such a large touch screen be as vandal-resistant as the thick toughened glass that fronts standard vending machines?
PharmaShop called in display firm Camax, and Camex specialist Patrice Romano recommended a customised version of the Zytronic ZyBrid 55inch projected capacitive touch sensor built on 6mm thermally toughened anti-glare glass.
And the rest is history.
The 55 inch screen has 128 way touch and responds to simple gesture controls such as swipes. Its controller is also from Zytronic: a single-touch ZXY100 which will work through glass up to 22mm thick. It uses a custom asic to implement analogue multiplexing of the touch channels, plus a 32bit Arm processor running proprietary firmware. Drivers are available for operating systems including Linux and Windows 7, 8 or 10.
Taking further advantage of having a Zytronic screen, PharmaShop offer an option that allows remote pharmacist consultations to be set-up through the vending machine. A further option is virtual ‘lockers’ for prescription drugs that only allow vending after a security code is touched in.
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