You’ve probably noticed there’s an influx of products offering touch screen technology, from smart phones to tablets to self service kiosks. This is because it is undoubtedly one of the easiest and most innovative computer interfaces, as it allows for simple navigation on a computer system simply by touch an icon or link on a screen.
So, how do touch screens actually work? We’d like to say it’s simple but it’s really not. As you can imagine, creating a touch screen is exceptionally complex; however, we’ve broken it down into 3 easy to follow steps so you can keep up and so can we!
As you know, touch screens have a touch responsive surface, which is why different systems are created from different styles of sensors: resistive, capacitive and surface acoustic wave. You’ll find capacitive sensors on many smart phones, whilst resistive sensors are believed to be the most commonly used.
What makes these sensors all similar is that they all have an electrical current running through them. So, and here’s the clever bit, when you touch the screen you cause the voltage to change direction – so you create a signal to a location. Amazing, right?
As we’ve just said, touching the screen causes the voltage to change direction, so it’s important a controller is put into place to direct the signal to your desired location. The controller is basically the hardware that transfers the voltage change into a signal that the computer system will receive.
The software basically tells the computer what to do by informing them on what’s happening on the sensor and what it’s being told by the controller. So the system can ultimately act appropriately.
So, now you know how touch screen works! Who knew that a patent touch sensor patented in 1971 by Doctor Sam Hurst, and that was originally called the “elegraph”, would play such an important role in the technology we know and love today? I’m guessing he did.
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