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What Is The Difference Between eCAP And InGlass Technologies?

Are all interactive flat panels made with the same touchscreen technology?

Interactive flat panel manufacturers have several options for their touchscreens, and as one might expect, they come with their positives and negatives. Newer touchscreens, though, are more responsive and more accurate than ever before, thanks to superior touchscreen engineering. Of these options, the most capable are technologies like eCAP and InGlass. Both detect gestures in a different manner, but both are effective in a variety of settings. Let’s explore the differences between eCAP and InGlass technologies for a better understanding of each.

How does eCAP work?

Clevertouch’s eCAP technology is a marked step forward for interactive flat panels, and combines proven IR detection with electromagnetic resonance (EMR), making for an extremely precise combination. It works like this: IR cameras embedded in the flat panels produce an IR field across the surface of the flat panel, and when a hand or pen disrupts this field, the board registers the movement. IR technology is tried and true, and has been used with displays for decades. Clevertouch, though, has enhanced its eCAP flat panel with the use of EMR. EMR works with a pen and sensor combo. The sensor generates a magnetic field and frequency that the pen picks up. Once the pen detects the field and picks up this frequency, it alerts the sensor, which then registers any of the pen’s movements by noting any changes in the magnetic field. EMR is particularly useful for detecting extremely fine movements, like handwriting, so it’s an ideal technology to pair with IR detection. Given the precise nature of eCAP, extremely fine gestures and finger movements can be detected quickly and with incredible accuracy. With this superb accuracy, eCAP touch panels can register several touch points with no issues. It’s common to see eCAP touchscreens that can support up to 20 touch points or more, and this allows multiple people to access the flat panel at once. With so many touch points available, classroom and professional collaboration is much easier to handle. There are some additional benefits, too. EMR and IR work best when the screen is kept in good condition, as any imperfections or damage to the glass can throw off detection. That’s a good thing, because manufacturers that rely on eCAP work hard to keep their screens in excellent condition. Interactive flat panels with eCAP are often built with safety glass that doesn’t affect the screen’s optics, but greatly improves its durability. With the unpredictable and rambunctious nature of students, that safety glass will ensure the flat panel survives for many years. Further, eCAP doesn’t require the thick bezel that older IR boards need. Because eCAP screens don’t require so much bezel, they look sleeker and more modern. That’s a nice touch for a professional setting. It also doesn’t require a special film in the glass to aid with detection. As a result, eCAP screens provide superior optics with no loss of visual fidelity. It’s not a surprise, then, that some of the most respected names in interactive flat panels utilize eCAP. Finally, eCAP is less expensive than other touchscreen technologies. Cost shouldn’t be the primary factor when selecting an interactive flat panel, but it’s always going to be considered.

How does InGlass work?

InGlass is impressive from a performance standpoint. It is similar to infrared touch technology, in that it uses a grid of IR emitters and receivers to create a field of infrared beams. These are embedded in the flat panel’s bezel, so it does require a thicker bezel than you would find in an eCAP screen.

Wait, infrared beams. Isn’t that just a standard IR board?

InGlass is not limited in accuracy or precision like typical IR boards are. Standard IR boards are still extremely common, but they are quickly being viewed as a less effective, entry level option. IR boards just don’t have the precision to output convincing handwriting. IR boards also cannot differentiate between hand and pen, or differentiate between finger, palm and other parts of the hand. This means that users are forced to manually select tools like an eraser or pen thickness, eating up valuable time. InGlass doesn’t require as thick of a bezel as typical IR boards, but that’s only the start. InGlass uses high precision sensors to pick up subtle pen and hand movements. With an InGlass board, it is possible to produce handwriting at any size and in nearly any style, including cursive handwriting. InGlass technology is also sophisticated enough to handle a range of tools, so users don’t have to switch from eraser to pen, to something else through a menu. InGlass can tell when the user has a pen, and when they are using a palm or finger. InGlass is found in some of the newest flat panel models, and it will likely be featured in flat panels for years to come. However, if there is a significant drawback, it is cost. InGlass is new and exciting, but it is also expensive. Cost, again, shouldn’t be the only consideration, but the cost of InGlass may still prove to be prohibitive for some school districts and businesses.

Are there any other options, other than eCAP and InGlass?

Yes, there are a couple other manufacturing approaches to interactive touchscreens, but they are either less capable or less practical for the classroom. For example, resistive touchscreens work by registering physical pressure exerted on the screen when it is touched. This allows for very precise controlling, but it is expensive and isn’t appropriate in settings where users are likely to be tough on the screen. Students tend to be tough on interactive flat panels, which makes screen durability an essential feature.