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Touch sensor technology helps tourists in Japan visit Shinto shrines respectfully

Japan has become an increasingly popular destination for holidaymakers who value its unique culture and heritage. Japan is home to 23 World Heritage Sites, ranging from beautiful lakes, stunning waterfalls and lush bamboo forests, to serene shrines and tranquil temples. Tourists from 68 countries are now able to freely visit Japan without a visa. Consequently, visitor numbers have soared in recent years, with the Japanese National Tourism Organisation (JNTO) estimating that over 31 million overseas travellers came to the country in 2018. 

This increase in tourism has meant that the provision of multilingual local information, often via outdoor interactive kiosks has become more important. Digital signage system supplier, HYOJITO, is a leader in such public information and wayfinding solutions for the Japanese mass transit sector, and also deploys similar public information display systems for city streets and other municipal spaces. Its wayfinding system, (“NAVITA”) is installed in more than 85 government buildings such as city and municipal offices, along with numerous placements in railway and bus stations, together with other locations.

An unusual application of their system is the installation of large interactive touchscreens in Shinto shrines. Many visitors to these sacred places are not fully aware of the cultural expectations and etiquette required while visiting the shrines. When developing a signage system that provides advice and guidance for tourists wishing to spend time in the shrines, HYOJITO chose Zytronic’s Projected Capacitive Technology (PCT and MPCT).

“We have developed a special, touch interactive digital signage system that can be operated remotely,” Mr. Akihiro Yokota, manager of digital solution at HYOJITO commented. “A large touchscreen with high resolution that can withstand long-term use in all weather was essential. This was especially important for the Jinja Navita application, as almost all are installed outdoors. Here, a highly reliable touchscreen technology that can perform well in any environment was essential.”

When correctly applied to the rear surface of a piece of glass, Zytronic’s ZyFilm touch technology will operate reliably even in the harshest environments and support displays of any size up to 85in with single or multi-touch functionality. For the Jinja Navita, 46in and 55in film-based, adhesive touch sensors were used. Manufactured at Zytronic’s facility in the UK, they are shipped to Japan rolled into cardboard tubes (for cost efficient transportation) and laminated to the back of locally sourced, printed glass. As the majority of Navita systems are used by a single user at a time, HYOJITO opted for sensors designed to work with Zytronic’s ZXY100 and ZXY110 touch controllers, depending on whether single or dual-touch performance is required. Both deliver millisecond fast, accurate touch response, and support simple gesture controls, such as swipes. 

The Jinja Navita system is now installed outside in the grounds of over 20 Shinto shrines providing multilingual public information, educating overseas visitors how to behave appropriately during their visit. Zytronic’s ability to supply high quality, specially sized touch sensors in very low quantities was critical to their use in this application and demonstrates the true flexibility of its manufacturing process. Its office in Tokyo, Japan provided close support to HYOJITO throughout the project, helping it to apply modern touchscreen technology in the most traditional of Japanese settings. 

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