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Operator Presence and Control Utilizing Grip Sense™ Capacitive Touch Technology

Enabling equipment manufacturers the ability to provide enhanced human input and control.

Capacitive touch sensing is a technology that is introducing exciting new options and features to the human / machine interface (HMI) for the next generation of Grips and Joysticks.  This evolving sensor technology enables equipment manufacturers to provide enhanced human input and control.  OTTO is introducing “Grip Sense™ to its Grip portfolio by offering the new sensor capabilities as an option to an assortment of its grips.

OTTO is partnering with system integrators and equipment manufacturers to apply Grip Sense technology in their applications to sense operator presence and to activate control features on the grips by providing switching functions that utilize capacitive touch sensing.  Grip Sense can prevent inadvertent activation of controls by assuring that an operator’s hand is positioned on the grip.  This improves the controls and safety features for the equipment.

What is Capacitive Sensing?

Capacitive Sensing is essentially a proximity sensor that provides the ability to detect the presence of objects (like a user’s hand or finger) without any actual physical contact with the sensor (i.e. through glass or plastic cases).   The smartphone touch screen is the most common device that utilizes capacitive sensing technology.  A capacitive touch screen utilizes the electrical properties of human skin rather than the pressure to activate the device (i.e. the common touch screen).

Capacitive Sensing technology (CS) is ubiquitous in our world, from our smartphones, to trackpads, tablets and computers.  New use cases like Operator Presence for activating controls systems, further expands this technology.

Grip Applications

The value of this CS capability is significant.   Imagine if every actuation on a smartphone were an individual switch or button on the dashboard of a vehicle.   There would be hundreds of available options creating distractions for the driver.

CS equipped components put more of the operator control in the palm of their hands.

OTTO’s latest foray into CS components involves the development of an OTTO G3-C type grip, on a JH Hall effect Joystick Base, with Grip Sense. 

In our most recent application, an OTTO grip equipped with Grip Sense was designed and installed in the armrest console of a snow removal truck.  The CS was housed inside the grip handle, so the shape of the grip was not compromised for the desired comfort of the user. The grip provides many functions including the ability to move the plow blade up and down, activate the truck bed up or down, and activate the salt spreader.  These functions are now incorporated into the grip, rather than the dashboard and armrest areas.

CS is also useful for the detection of Operator Presence.   The grip equipped with Grip Sense can sense the presence of an operator’s hand, even with gloves.  If no hand is on the grip, the sensing program deactivates the functions, providing safety and security for the operator.

OTTO controls are designed for demanding applications, and is a one stop solution for controls, grips and joysticks. 

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