Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Touchscreen Technology: How does it Work?

Touchscreens have become 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 concept of a touchscreen was a dream. Yet, today we see it as a common feature in lots of devices.

How, exactly, does touchscreen technology work? How do so many of our screens know what to do when we touch the icons displayed on them? The answer isn't that straightforward. That is because there are a few different types of touchscreen technologies, and each of them works in a different way.

Resistive touchscreens

This is the most common form of touchscreen technology. Resistive touchscreens are coated with an electrically conductive layer. Your fingertip changes the electric current whenever you touch it. This delivers a message to the device’s controller telling it what action you would like to perform. This technology is more affordable than other touchscreen technologies and also less sensitive.

Surface wave touchscreen

This type of touchscreen is popular as well. It relies on ultrasonic waves that pass over the touchscreen. When you touch the panel, you in essence change the wave. Depending on how and where it is changed, specific data is given to the device's controller to relay what action to preform.

Capacitive touchscreens

Capacitive touchscreens most often have the sharpest image quality. Devices using this technology are coated with a material that sends an electrical current across the screen. As the human body is electrical, whenever you touch the screen, you absorb some of the electric current which disrupts the flow across the device. Just as with the other types of touchscreen, the disruption sends information to the device’s controller. The device then performs the action that you requested, at the touch of a fingertip.

Fortunately, to enjoy touchscreen technology you don’t have to have a deep understanding of it. And you don’t have to be an engineer to realize this technology will become more popular, not less.

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