Touch-Based HMIs: Opportunities and Challenges

March 20th, 2013 by

Touch interface

By Andy The

Technology advances and trends in the consumer space can often influence industries as diverse as industrial automation and medical systems.  However, the touch-based interfaces of today’s smartphone is the first trend to make such a fast and powerful impact on HMIs in the industrial space.

From automobiles to CNC machines, consumers are demanding the same touch-based interfaces on their work devices as they have on their personal devices. This trend presents opportunities to make a new generation of more attractive and intuitive products.

Often, big opportunities are accompanied by significant complexities and challenges. With touch-based interfaces some immediate challenges include unresponsiveness, complex layouts and sensitivity.  For new developers, touch based HMIs require careful research and thoughtful planning to design an interface that is both functional and intuitive.

It will be interesting to watch how fast and how far consumer smart devices push other industries.  To be sure, it will require focus and some patience to insure that function always takes precedence over form.

I encourage you to read this article from controldesign.com in which industry leaders talk about the influence of smartphones on HMIs.

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