Touchscreen Panel Technology – A Guide To Knowing About All Its Types

Gone are the days when touchscreens used to be a futuristic idea that could only be possible in the Star Trek and Doctor Who universe. The technology has now become a part of our everyday life with smartphones and tablet PCs and even laptops running on the power of touch. Entire Operating Systems are now being redesigned with user interfaces that work with touch capabilities. In this scenario, it is only logical that we take a few moments to understand how touchscreen panels work. Let us look at the major types out there.

Resistive technology

Two thin conductive layers are separated by a narrow gap. When the outer coversheet layer is touched, it comes into contact with the inner layer - typically a coating on the glass panel. This contact point helps the processor in determining the exact location of the input, allowing it to understand the command given by the user. These types of touchscreen panels are resistant to liquids but prone to damage from sharp objects. This is the reason why devices using this technology are best operated by gloved hands or with a stylus.

Surface Acoustic Wave Technology

These touch panels pass ultrasonic waves across the surface of the screen. A portion of these waves are absorbed by the user’s finger, indicating the location where the screen has been touched, thereby registering the input. These panels are not suitable for use in wet environments. Liquids tend to provide false readings to the system using this technology. They are best operated by fingers, a gloved hand or a stylus.

Acoustic pulse recognition technology

This form of touchscreen technology is relatively new in the market. It works by producing a unique sound to record the position where touch input has been registered. The sound is picked up by transducers at the corners of the screen and processed to determine the position, by comparison with a pre-recorded sound profile. These touch panel systems have been perfected enough to avoid any interference from background noises. The screen surface is usually glass which is a sturdy material to go with.

Capacitative technology

When you consider these types of touch panels, you will find them to be coated with a conductive layer. The screen's electrostatic field is distorted when touched by a finger (since the body is an electrical conductor), allowing the location of the touch to be determined. Various technologies can be used for detection, like surface capacitance, projected capacitance, self-capacitance, mutual capacitance. The panels can register touch input only when the conductive layer comes in contact with the human body. This means that since conductivity isn’t possible through cloth, using a gloved hand to operate the screen will not be possible. This technology happens to be the most popular and widely used touchscreen types out there. You will find that most tablet PCs and smartphones, including iPads and iPhones make use of capacitative panels to register touch input.

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About The Author

Daniel Williams is an expert in human machine interface technology and is particularly interested in touchscreen monitors – a system that has taken the world by storm. He loves to write articles and blogs on the topic and recommends as the best place to buy these devices from.