Touchscreens for Photokiosks
The new PhotoKiosk from bluechip Computer AG, which is currently being installed in many Marktkauf stores in Germany, will enable all customers to print photos from their mobile phone or camera simply, quickly and inexpensively. The intuitive user menu of the integrated touch screen from 3M ensures exceptionally easy operation. The PhotoKiosk is a complete photo printing solution that can be installed as a user-friendly, self-service terminal in almost any location. To date, bluechip has produced 110 kiosks, the majority of which will be installed in Marktkauf stores during a Germany-wide project which started at the beginning of this year.
The system comprises a 15” MicroTouch ClearTek II Capacitive Touch Screen from 3M Touch Systems Division, an input unit for digital media, a photo printer and a receipt printer. The robust metal housing of the kiosk can be designed in any colour, according to customer requirements. There are also multiple configuration possibilities - for example, customers can employ one or two photo printers, they can connect to a minilab or large laboratory, and can choose to integrate a credit card, EC (EuroCheque) card or customer card reader.
Bluechip decided to use the flat capacitive touch screens from 3M Touch Systems, which were also employed for the development of the Agfa Image Box in 2002. Previously, bluechip and AgfaGevaert had evaluated and tested all touch screens available on the market. “We chose 3M because their capacitive touch screens are extremely robust. Robustness plays a very important role, especially for kiosk solutions which are used by people of all ages. Younger users, in particular, may not treat the machines with the necessary care when printing their mobile phone photos,” said Maik Kränkel, Product Manager at bluechip Computer AG.
The ClearTek II capacitive touch screens feature fast response times, a high-contrast display and excellent optical transmission. They are also resilient against surface damage such as scratches, which can often occur through careless use. They also guarantee flawless functionality, even with surfaces that have been contaminated by grease, dirt and fluids. The touch screen interface is simple and intuitive, guiding the user through the menu options step by step. The standard menu option offers five different languages, although, in principle at least, the language is superfluous as the user interface, with its large, easily recognisable touch buttons, is self-explanatory and ‘child’s play’ to operate.
Various alternatives are available for user input: via camera memory card; mobile phone SIM; USB stick or CD. The photos can also be transferred via Bluetooth connectivity or infrared interface directly from the mobile phone.
When users are selecting their photos, there are numerous options available. To begin with, they can choose which photos they wish to print and how many. Then they can decide whether to print the photos as standard, index card, greetings card or collage. All standard processing options, such as red-eye reduction, crop, image correction, rotation, contrast, add text and so on, can be selected via the touch screen. The photos are then printed in high quality or burned to CD. Transfer via e-mail is also theoretically possible, depending on how the system has been integrated and configured.
The possibilities for touch screens in self-service kiosk applications are endless. Using a touch screen interface in photo kiosks means that users can print photos from their mobile phones in an instant, inexpensive and uncomplicated manner.