Sharp's HD touchscreen offers pen-like sensing

The screen offers 10-point multitouch and will be available in Japan this month

Japan's Sharp has developed a high-definition touchscreen that can be used with a stylus that resembles a conventional pen.

Capacitive touchscreens like those on the iPad typically require a stylus with a soft, rounded rubber end to work properly, but the Sharp screen uses a plastic pen with a much finer 2-millimeter nib.

The 19.5-inch touchscreen, which will go on sale in Japan at the end of this month, is on show at this week's CES in Las Vegas. Sharp says it's the thinnest and lightest touch panel of its class.

Sharp managed to increase the resolution of the touch panel by changing the sensing grid that lies over the screen from a diamond pattern to a new and undisclosed pattern.

The screen also allows 10-point multitouch, so all 10 fingers can be recognized and their position sensed simultaneously. That would be useful in something like a digital piano application.

There's also a stylus mode that will only recognize input from the stylus. In that mode, resting a hand on the screen while using the pen won't result in the hand being recognized as an input.

The display is aimed at use in products like computer monitors for professional applications.

Sharp has set monthly production at 4,000 panels per month. A price for the panel, which carries the LL-S201A model name, has not been disclosed.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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