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Zytronic Helps JCDecaux Get French Cities Moving

14 October 2008

Zytronic has announced that its ZYTOUCH® touch sensor product has been deployed by JCDecaux in some of its Cyclocity urban bike hire schemes.  The French firm has already rolled out several services across France and abroad, taking advantage in some cities of the durability and low maintenance requirements offered by Zytronic’s Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT™).

Cyclocity is a self-service bike rental system offered through collaboration between JCDecaux and cities.  In some cases, it employs a ZYTOUCH-equipped kiosk located next to a rack of bikes, allowing users to book rentals, specify their bike preferences and validate their identity via a touch screen. Services with ZYTOUCH® touch sensor product are already available in Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Aix en Provence, Mulhouse and Besançon, as well as Brussels, Belgium.

“With Cyclocity we needed to combine the durability requirements of an outdoor application in unsupervised locations, with the cost constraints of a public service,” said JacquesLe Gars, New Technologies Manager of JCDecaux.  “ZYTOUCH touch sensors provided the perfect solution, offering extremely lowmaintenance, excellent readability, high reliability in all kinds of weather conditions, andresistance to vandalism.”

Zytronic’s PCT senses touch by detecting small capacitance changes in a set of microfine electrodes deposited in an XY grid array and embedded within a laminated construction behind a protective front surface.  Since the electrodes can sense thecapacitance changes at up to 20mm below the surface, they are protected against any accidental or deliberate damage, heat, surface contaminants and scratching.  PCT does not suffer from the problems of drift encountered with some alternative technologies, thus eliminating the need for touchscreen recalibration during the display lifetime and substantially reducing maintenance costs.

As well as providing unrivalled robustness, PCT touch sensors may be operated with gloved and ungloved fingers and affords better sunlight readability than the metallic coating based touch screen solutions, which tend to reduce the amount of light transmitted from the screen.

As well as providing basic identity validation and user input facilities, the 10.4-inch ZYTOUCH-based touchscreens used for Cyclocity provide a variety of auxiliary information, such as local area maps, and lists of bikes available at neighbouring sites.  Users can also access their account details and subscription information.

JCDecaux is aiming to make the Cyclocity self-service bicycle hire scheme a true form of individual public transport, and a valuable addition to local authorities’ transport and infrastructure planning.  By making its price accessible to everyone, it is making this service truly democratic and, in the process, speeding up society’s adoption of a more sustainable urban environment.

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