Zytronic Touch Sensors Bring ‘Hungry Kitchen’ to Life for Japanese Children

Published: February 25, 2019
Image: Dear Bandai Namco Amusements

It’s not your typical application for Zytronic Zyfilm and ZXY150 multitouch controller, but Zytronic Touch Sensors play a key role in Japan’s “Hungry Kitchen,” which is part of the Docodoco indoor island of adventure, a digital playground attraction built within the Hachikawa Takashimaya S.C by Bandai Namco Amusements Inc.

Zytronic, makers of custom-designed, durable Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT and MPCT) touch sensors, says its touch sensors are central to a new kitchen experience where young children can enjoy the illusion of “cooking with fairies.”

Image: Dear Bandai Namco Amusements

Image: Dear Bandai Namco Amusements

What is “Hungry Kitchen” and Why Does It Need Touch Sensors?

According to a Zytronic press release, “Hungry Kitchen” offers young children a full “augmented reality” kitchen experience including cutting foods on a virtual plate, frying and mixing to serving up, without any of the risks of a real kitchen.

Zytronic touch technology under the chopping board senses the position of the plastic knife and the palms, allowing an appropriate response from the system. The plastic kitchen knife and other utensils include a conductive material that allows the touch sensor to detect their location.

Image: Dear Bandai Namco Amusements

Image: Dear Bandai Namco Amusements

What Zytronic Solutions Are Used?

A custom-sized 15.2-inch Zytronic Zyfilm, together with a ZXY150 multitouch controller, was selected following a comprehensive performance evaluation.

[related]A key requirement, according to the press release, was that the touch sensor responded reliably from its location underneath an 8mm-thick melamine chopping board, with the kitchen surface and foods all projected onto the surface from an overhead projector.

The plastic knives in this virtual kitchen contain a conductive element, allowing their position to be sensed by the projected capacitive touch screen.

For this application, the touch controllers “palm rejection” algorithm was disabled, so for example, if a child used a hand to flatten a piece ‘virtual’ chicken with a palm, the touch controller would recognize this and Bandai Namco’s software would respond appropriately.

Accordiing to Zytronic, the system designers appreciated the fact that set-up values are stored on the ZXY150 touch controller itself, eliminating the need to store them on the host PC, and improving servicing.

More about ‘Hungry Kitchen’ and Zytronic (via press release):

Tetsuo Takahashi is the producer of “Indoor Island of Adventure Docodoco” and is the manager of Bandai Namco Amusement Lab Inc.’s development and planning team. He commented, “In order to balance both the playfulness and the precision of the experience, Zytronic technology was adopted.

Its touch sensor is a highly sensitive device that can be mounted behind very thick overlays whilst maintaining intuitive and precise interactivity. Its performance makes an important contribution to the children’s cookery experience.”

Ian Crosby, Zytronic’s VP of Sales and Marketing added, “For their special project, Bandai Namco Amusements Inc. had been seeking a projected capacitive touch sensor available in a unique design and in very small quantities.

In addition, the chosen technology had to be capable of detecting a touch through a thick, opaque surface. We designed a bespoke 15-inch multitouch foil to their precise specifications. As our touch sensors and controllers can also operate through various non-conductive materials such as glass, acrylics and even stone, it provided an ideal solution for Bandai Namco Amusements Inc.”

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