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I am back with another interesting topic " All You Need To Know About Different Types Of Touchscreen Technology!" I will be explaining you details about it and many more interesting things will be shared in this thread!
Touchscreens are electronic displays-cum-input devices used in a wide variety of devices today. Over the past few years, touchscreens went from a technological fantasy to something so widespread that it’s now considered standard. Go back a few decades, and touchscreens would be looked at as nothing short of magic. Yet here we are, using them in our daily lives. It’s quite wondrous to think that technology is advancing so rapidly that in a couple of years.
There are basically four types of touchscreen technology, used depending on cost or application. They are:
Resistive Touch Technology:-
Resistive touchscreen technology is considered the most affordable of the lot to implement, and uses quite a simple principle. It consists of two transparent and flexible layers which are electrically resistive, separated by a thin space where electric current is passed. These two layers are then protected by a scratch resistant glass layer, which functions as the actual conduit for whatever is being used to press it, like fingers or a stylus. When the device is on, an electric current continuously runs through this thin space, and any contact caused by touching the top layer to the bottom layer registers a location where contact has been established, which is then converted into input via software and/or drivers.
Precision is taken care of by horizontal and vertical lines that run through these layers, thus pinpointing the exact location, something like a coordinate system, on an X and Y axis. During operation, when the two layers are pressed, they act like a pair of voltage dividers, acting on one axis at a time. First, a voltage gradient is applied to the top layer, and the second layer calculates the distance along the top layer, measuring the X-axis. The voltage gradient is then applied to the bottom layer to ascertain the Y-axis distance, with respect to the top layer.
Resistive touchscreens are usually used in commercial applications like supermarkets, hospitals, restaurants and more because it’s a more resilient technology. Since it also works with a stylus or gloves, it is more desirable in certain situations, even though its not as bright and accurate as capacitive touch. Poorer contrasts and the need to apply pressure to register touch, specially in mobile applications resulted in capacitive touchscreens being used more widely, although you can still find tablets and mobile phones that use it. It is also possible to create resistive touchscreens that ignore fingers or gloves and work only with a stylus, so it does have specific uses.
Capacitive Touch Technology:-
Using the principle of capacitive sensing, capacitive touch technology is a widely used and very versatile technology based on capacitive coupling, which takes human body capacitance as input. The difference between the dielectric of air and the dielectric of fingers or a stylus is detected by the touchscreen, which then registers input. Capacitive sensing is also used in other sensors like proximity, humidity, acceleration and much more. It’s even used to create music, in an instrument called a theremin.
In this type of touchscreen technology, an electrically charged layer is placed on the glass panel, which loses some of its charge when a conductor such as a human finger touches it. The loss of charge is then measured by circuits at each corner of the screen, which calculates the relative distance and difference in charges by a reference charge, thus determining the location of of input. This information is then relayed to the software/driver that translates it into touch input for the device. This is called surface capacitance, and is used in low cost applications like touchscreen help kiosks, point of sale units, vending machines and such. It isn’t too sensitive or accurate, but comes with a lower cost than the other type of capacitive touch technology.
Surface Acoustic Wave Touch Technology:-
Surface acoustic wave touch technology is a very interesting technology that employs transducers to register touch input. Two transducers, one each for sending and receiving, are placed along the X and Y axis of a screen’s glass plate. Also added are reflectors, which reflect electrical signals sent from one transducer to another. When a touch event occurs on any part of the screen, the receiving transducer is able to understand that waves have been blocked or absorbed by an external source, and pinpoints the location of the disturbance, thus registering input information which is relayed to the software/driver.
Since there are no metallic parts used in this type of touchscreen technology, there is absolutely no loss in clarity of picture, or more specifially, 100% light is transmitted from the screen, compared to about 90% for capacitive touchscreens, and 75% for resistive touchscreens. It’s used in detailed graphics applications, where there has to be no loss in quality. However, it is far more expensive than other types of touchscreen technologies, and is thus used only in very specific situations.
Infrared Touch Technology:-
Finally, we have infrared touch technology, which uses an array of infrared LED and photodetector pairs placed around the edges of the screen. These beams are projected in vertical and horizontal patterns over the screen. Any disruption in the path of the beams is detected by the photodetectors, which translates into the location of the touch event. The best part is that infrared touch technology works perfectly well with different types of inputs, like fingers, styli, gloves and more. Unlike resistive touchscreens which depend on pressure for the two layers to touch together and capacitive touchscreens which depend on changes of dielectric, infrared touch doesn’t need any special input, but is more susceptible to dirt and dust. They are used in point of sale systems and some outdoor applications, and are usually not used in screens that are curved, because of parallax error.
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