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Learn How Touchscreen Technology Works

Business Technology | December 21, 2011

Touchscreens are becoming an integral part of our everyday life. When we interact with a device that has a touchscreen, we expect it to execute the action we want without a second thought. It wasn’t too far in the past that the notion of a touchscreen was a dream. Yet, today we see it as a standard feature in numerous devices.

But how do touchscreens work? What’s the technology behind them? Because there are many different types of touchscreen the answer isn’t that simple. Here we will explain just a few.

Resistive touchscreens

Many touchscreens today operate on the resistive model. Resistive touchscreens are coated with a thin electrically conductive layer. Whenever you touch the screen, your fingertip will cause the electrical current to change. This information is instantly sent to the device’s controller, which causes the unit to react to your touch. Resistive touchscreen technology costs less, and is the most frequent form of touchscreen used in products today. However, such touchscreens are not the most sensitive.

Surface wave touchscreen

Another popular type of touchscreen is the surface wave model. This type of screen utilizes ultrasonic waves that pass over the touchscreen panel. Whenever you touch the panel, you absorb a part of the wave. Again, this sends information to the device’s controller, which then tells the unit what you would like it to do.

Capacitive touchscreens

Devices that rely on capacitive touchscreens tend to have the sharpest image quality. Capacitive touchscreens are coated with a material that sends a continuous electrical current across the sensor. The good news is, the human body is also a type of electrical device. Consequently when you touch the screen you absorb some of the current. The device registers this disruption, causing it to send information to its controller. The unit will then perform the action that you requested.

Luckily, we don’t have to truly comprehend the science behind touchscreen technology have fun with it, and we don’t have to be engineers to understand that this technology isn’t going away any time soon.


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