A few decades ago, touchscreen technology was only prevalent in science fiction. Nowadays daily life regularly features touchscreens, whether it be homes, cars, planes, stores, restaurants – they are ingrained into our daily lives.
In 1965 E.A. Johnson discovered the benefits of touch screen technology and invented the first finger-driven touch screen device. Popular sci-fi television shows such as Star Trek: The Next Generation didn’t debut the use of touch screens until 1987, almost two decades after touchscreen technology was shown to be possible. The first commercial touch screen computer, the HP-150, was released prior to this by Hewlett Packard back in 1983 and it was not until 2007 when the first iPhone was released that the technology truly took off.
What is the current situation with touchscreens in lifts?
Touch screens are already being used in a multitude of functions including lift car operating panels, destination control systems and digital signage. Their usage in these applications (within Europe) is subject to the EN81-70 standard (accessibility of lifts to persons including persons with a disability) which legislates size, positioning and operation of touch displays when being used to control the lift. Below are a couple of the possible scenarios and some of the fundamental considerations you must make when installing the systems:
Destination control systems (DCS) are quickly becoming more and more popular in buildings with high user traffic and can offer great efficiency for people flow within buildings. A common feature for destination control is the use of touch screens for floor level input allowing for increased customisation of floor level options but also giving a premium feel to the building. Key points of compliance to note with DCS touchscreens are the use of an accessibility button, character height, button area and button positioning.
When using a touch screen within the lift car for floor selection, you will need to ensure that there is a separate lift position indicator to meet the height requirements set by EN81-70. Another notable inclusion is the need of a mechanical keypad, suitable for the visually impaired, that can be used in replacement of the touch screen. The below table describes the height requirements for each element of the in-car components.
Touchscreens are here to stay, and it is only a matter of time before they become mainstream within the elevator environment. The options for digital signage are becoming increasingly popular and this is likely to set the trend for elevators in future for both revenue and ease of updating. One thing is for sure, if you really want to create a standout feature then a touchscreen isn’t a bad place to start.