Synaptics Talks ForcePad: Pressure-Sensing Touchpad

Synaptics Promises New Generation of Touchpads

by Anton Shilov
08/20/2012 | 11:16 PM

Synaptics, a leading developer of human interface solutions for mobile computing communications and entertainment devices, on Monday revealed Synaptics ForcePad, the next generation of touchpad touch solutions, formerly known under the codename "Jedeye" contest. The company unveiled ForcePad at User Interface Software & Technology (UIST) conference.


As a multi-finger, capacitive touchpad with variable force detection and a large “modern touchpad” gesture area, ForcePad promises to redefine the touch interaction experience for notebook and desktop PC users. ForcePad adds a new dimension of control utilizing capacitive image sensing technology that detects the pressure of five fingers with up to 1000 grams of dynamic range in force sensitivity. The ability to detect varying amounts of pressure per finger enables new usage paradigms in virtually every software genre, according to Synaptics.

ForcePad features a universal auto-calibration capability for adjusting to varying notebook designs with variable flex tolerances. There are no mechanical hinges or tactile button switches. It can maintain consistent performance through the notebook product life, as well as a consistent experience across different OEM chassis makes and models. It is up to 40% thinner than today’s ClickPads, enabling thinner and lighter ultrabooks, Synaptics said.

“ForcePad is the most significant development in touch technology since Synaptics invented the first touchpad in 1995. We believe ForcePad delivers the world’s best touch experience, opening up a new array of exciting usage models. UIST is an exemplary organization dedicated to expanding human interaction models, which makes them a perfect partner to advance new technologies based on ForcePad,” said Godfrey Cheng, vice president of marketing for Synaptics PC Division.

The acclaimed UIST conference covers a variety of topics including graphical and web user interfaces, tangible and ubiquitous computing, virtual and augmented reality and multimedia supported by new input and output devices. Teams of one to four students are given hardware kits for six weeks to develop new implementations for the next-generation touchpad. With final presentations planned during the UIST Conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts from October 7-10, contestants are vying for cash awards in the “Most Creative”, “Most Useful”, and “People’s Choice” categories.