By Liz White, ERJ staff
Boston, Massachusetts-Ampro Computers Inc. and White Electronic Designs Corp, have together produced a prototype industrial computer, "contained entirely within a 5.5 x 8 inch keypad enclosure," the two firms announced 13 Sept.
This novel device couples Ampro's ReadyBoard, EPIC-compatible single-board computers with White's elastomer keypad, mounted over sealed keypad circuitry. As a result, the rugged computer is highly resistant to contaminants and ideal for users who need to be able to clean and/or disinfect the keypad surface.
The keypad is backlit and includes a mini-joystick for cursor control.
White is a leading supplier of industrial keypad and electronic systems, while Ampro invented, and is a leading supplier of, EPIC and other types of single-board computers
"These systems represent an important alternative to Panel PC products where keyboard entry is critical and/or where harsh environments forbid the use of touchscreen technology, said Paul Rosenfeld, Ampro's chief technical officer and vice president of marketing.
"In providing turnkey custom keypad solutions, White has detected increasing customer interest in a standard, off-the-shelf keypad-based industrial computer system," said Wayne Parkinson, vice president of business development for White Electronic Designs.
White's website points out that elastomer keypads-generally made of silicone rubber-are widely used in consumer electronics and commercial applications. But membrane keypads give superior sealing. Fortunately, White can combine the best of both, mounting the elastomer over the circuit portion of a membrane keypad, giving a well sealed construction, "completely impervious to contaminants," the firm claims.