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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Testing System and Testing Method for Touch Device", for Approval

March 5, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Electronics Newsweekly -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors Chen, Chien-Chuan (Hsinchu Hsien, TW); Ho, Kai-Ting (Hsinchu Hsien, TW); Huang, Yu-Chien (Hsinchu Hsien, TW), filed on August 9, 2013, was made available online on February 20, 2014.

The patent's assignee is MStar Semiconductor, Inc.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The invention relates in general to a testing technique, and more particularly, to a technique for testing whether a touch device correctly responds to a user touch.

"Operating interfaces of recent electronic products have become more and more user-friendly and intuitive as technology advances. For example, via a touch screen, a user can directly operate programs as well as input messages/texts/patterns with fingers or a stylus; in this way, it is much easier to convey demands than operating via traditional input devices such as a keyboard or buttons. In practice, a touch screen usually comprises a touch sensing panel and a display device disposed at the back of the touch sensing panel. According to a position of a touch on the touch sensing panel and a currently displayed image on the display device, an electronic device determines an intention of the touch to execute corresponding operations.

"Current capacitive touch control techniques are in general categorized into self capacitive and mutual capacitive types. Self capacitive touch panel, featuring a single electrode structure of a simpler fabrication process and low costs, prevails in entry-level electronic devices.

"FIG. 1 shows an exemplary sensing electrode arrangement of a conventional self capacitive touch panel. In a region 100, multiple sensing electrodes (e.g., an electrode 11) having an equal width and each appearing similar to a right-angle triangle are disposed. Each of the sensing electrodes is connected to a sensor (not shown). By applying a user touch, the magnetic line distribution around an electrode is affected to lead to a change in a capacitance value detected by the sensors. According to a position of the sensing electrode with the capacitance value change and an amount of the capacitance value change, a position of the user touch can be estimated.

"Due to possible deviations during a fabrication process of sensing electrodes, an actual shape of the sensing electrodes may be identifiably different from an ideal shape. FIG. 2 shows two exemplary errors--a region 12A contains a disconnection, and a region 12B contains a cutaway. These errors degrade the accuracy of sensing results to even cause a misjudgment on a touch position. To prevent the foregoing problems, before being shipped out of the factory, products are required to undergo testings to filter out malfunctioning products.

"In general, current testing solutions are manually performed. For example, due to conductivity of metal, a capacitance value detected by a sensor is changed when a metal rod is placed closely above a sensing electrode (e.g., as a position 30 shown in FIG. 3), which is equivalent to a user touch upon the sensing electrode. Theoretically speaking, different placement positions of the metal rod render the sensors to generate different detection results. Thus, by comparing theoretical values of the detection results with actual values, a testing staff may conclude whether the sensing electrodes correctly reflect expected capacitance changes when placing the metal rod at the corresponding position.

"Further, in a current testing solution, after confirming that a normal detection result is yielded by a corresponding position tested by the metal rod, a testing staff is required to manually relocate the metal rod to another position to continue the testing procedure. Apparently, with the current testing solution, manufacturers can only randomly test a small part of products with limited human resources. Thus, a testing staff can only test few predetermined positions on touch panels under testing."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The invention is directed to a testing system and a testing method, which can be designed to be automatic without involving human resources. Compared to a conventional manual testing method, the testing system and the testing method disclosed by the present invention offer outstanding efficiency for a testing range substantially covering all touch sensing regions in a device under testing. Further, by incorporating an appropriately design testing apparatus, relative positions of the testing system and the device under testing can be fixed to yield an accuracy far higher than that yielded by a manually placed metal rod.

"According to an aspect of the present invention, a testing system for testing a touch device is provided. The testing system includes a touch simulation module, a control module and a determination module. The touch simulation module includes multiple conductive elements respectively corresponding to multiple touch sensing regions of the touch device. The control module selectively provides a testing signal to one or multiple of the conductive elements. The determination module determines whether the touch device correctly responds to a testing that the control module provides to the device under testing via the touch simulation module.

"According to another aspect of the present invention, a testing method for testing a touch device is provided. The method includes steps of: placing a touch simulation module closely to the touch device, wherein the touch simulation module includes multiple conductive elements respectively corresponding to multiple touch sensing regions of the device under testing; performing an auto-testing procedure of selectively providing a testing signal to one or multiple of the conductive elements; and determining whether the touch device correctly responds to the auto-testing procedure.

"The above and other aspects of the invention will become better understood with regard to the following detailed description of the preferred but non-limiting embodiments. The following description is made with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is an exemplary sensing electrode arrangement of a conventional self capacitive touch panel.

"FIG. 2 shows exemplary electrode errors.

"FIG. 3 is diagram of a corresponding relationship between a placement position of a metal rod and sensing electrodes.

"FIG. 4 is block diagram of a testing system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5A is a touch simulation module in a testing system according to an embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 5B shows detailed circuit connections in a testing system according to an embodiment of the present invention; FIG. 5C shows arrangement relations between a testing system and a device under testing during a testing procedure.

"FIG. 6 is a flowchart of a testing method according to an embodiment of the present invention."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Chen, Chien-Chuan; Ho, Kai-Ting; Huang, Yu-Chien. Testing System and Testing Method for Touch Device. Filed August 9, 2013 and posted February 20, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=4574&p=92&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140213.PD.&OS=PD/20140213&RS=PD/20140213

Keywords for this news article include: Electronics, MStar Semiconductor Inc..

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Source: Electronics Newsweekly


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