This project’s aim is to invent and prototype a cost effective, multi-purpose touch sensor that can be used as a touch sensor, an alternative energy source, and a sensor that can be operable with safety gloves for hygienic environments through the use of transparent photovoltaic solar cells. This process involves the design of a touch screen using Micro Transparent Photovoltaic Solar (MTPS) cells and a prototype using Light Dependent Resistors (LDR) and voltage sources equivalent to MTPS cell. A 4X4 matrix was the touch sensor matrix, built using LDRs, voltage sources, digital logic NAND gates, and LEDs for visual representation of the x-y coordinates.

Connected 4X4 TMSC touchscreen x-y coordinate outputs to a microprocessor- the Arduino Leonardo- through the digital I/O pins. The Arduino USB was connected to Laptop to showcase how the touchscreen will work when implemented on a smart device. A program was written in C language to scan the x-y coordinate outputs, to pack the x-y coordinate outputs into a single value, and to identify the direction of the swipe. It was emulating as a keyboard. Google Earth app was choosen to display how the TMSC touchscreen would operate. Proto type was tested by swiping left, right, up, and down on the TMSC touchscreen under high and low ambient light. Under both conditions, the Earth moved in the direction the finger swiped in. The results have led to plans to enhance the project with the use of real MTPS cells when it is available in the industry.

What inspired you (or your team)?

There are three main purposes for this invention:

  • There is a need for an alternative energy source with simplicity: The device should be dual purpose, meaning that the device’s touch sensors operate as a touch screen and an alternative power source.
  • There is a need for hygiene maintenance: Even when using gloves, people can still operate the device, thus leading to the maintenance of hygiene (since most diseases are spread through hand contact and the surface of touch screens).
  • There is a need for inexpensive touchscreens: Most of the smart devices are expensive due to their touch screens. With this novelty, touch screen manufacturing will become cheaper, therefore reducing the cost for advanced technology, and allowing television screens and computer monitors to follow the same path for the future.