Peratech’s intellectual property is around a group of elastomers dubbed ‘quantum tunnelling composites’ (QTCs) – in this case used to implement its SP200-10 sensors – thin 10mm diameter devices whose resistance varies repeatably (<4.5% device-to-device in a batch) with forces across 0.1N to 20N (100kΩ to 2kΩ). Because of a 20-30µm air gap in the structure, the sensors are ‘off’ when not touched, with a resistance of >30MΩ. The initial force required to bridge the gap also helps to prevent false actuation.
As well as the solder tail version (pictured), plug-in SP200-10 sensors are available with male or female pin-type connectors, with and without insulating housings. Multiple over-force encounters at up to 100N can be survived.
Its structure has a PET substrate on which silver and carbon inter-digitated connectors are printed. Held over this by a ring of spacing adhesive, which provides the gap, is a second PET substrate printed with a layer of carbon and a layer of QTC. In PCB applications, the lower substrate and inter-digitated electrodes can be replaced by flexi or ridged PCB and tracks.
The mouse buttons have been branded ‘Deep Click’ and are used with the mouses in-built tactile feedback.
For gamers, said Peratch, benefits include configurable activation force and the ability to control throttle or speed when driving, flying or running. Integrated scope and zoom control is now possible, and gamers can use a normal click for a light attack or a harder click for heavy attack.
“The force control offered by Peratech’s SP200-10 sensors enabled us to create a product with the intuitive analogue control gamers want,” said Swiftpoint CTO Grant Odgers. “And it isn’t just gamers who can benefit, Deep Click pressure-sensitive buttons give designers and programmers an enhanced user experience through multi-level text selection and enhanced copy and paste. In fact, anyone who creates, edits and views documents now has more precise control when navigating applications and data as they can scroll through documents slowly or quickly based on force.”
The Z mouse also includes an accelerometer and a gyroscope, and won three CES 2017 innovation awards – in gaming, computer accessory and computer hardware categories.