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Seminar report - Touch Screen

Touch screen


1. Abstract 2. Introduction 3. How Does a Touchscreen Work 4. Comparing Touch Technologies 5. Information Kiosk Systems 6. Software, Cables, and Accessories 7. Touchscreen Drivers 8. Applications 9. Advantages over other pointing devices 10. Conclusion 11. References



First computers became more visual, then they took a step further to understand vocal commands and now they have gone a step further and became TOUCHY, that is skin to screen.

A touchscreen is an easy to use input device that allows users to control PC software and DVD video by touching the display screen. A touch system consists of a touch Sensor that receives the touch input, a

Controller, and a Driver. The most commonly used touch technologies are the Capacitive & Resistive systems. The other technologies used in this field are Infrared technology, Near Field Imaging & SAW (surface acoustic wave technology). These technologies are latest in this field but are very much expensive.

The uses of touch systems as Graphical User Interface (GUI) devices for computers continues to grow popularity. Touch systems are used for many applications such as ATMs, point-ofsale systems, industrial controls, casinos & public kiosks etc. Touch system is basically an alternative for a mouse or keyboard.

The market for touch system is going to be around $2.5 billion by 2004. Various companies involved in development of touch systems mainly are Philips, Samsung etc. Even touch screen mobile phones have been developed by Philips.


A touchscreen is an easy to use input device that allows users to control PC software and DVD video by touching the display screen. We manufacture and distribute a variety of touch screen related products.

A touch system consists of a touch Sensor that receives the touch input, a Controller, and a Driver. The touch screen sensor is a clear panel that is designed to fit over a PC. When a screen is touched, the sensor detects the voltage change and passes the signal to the touch screen controller. The controller that reads & translates the sensor input into a conventional bus protocol (Serial, USB) and a software driver which converts the bus information to cursor action as well as providing systems utilities.

As the touch sensor resides between the user and the display while receiving frequent physical input from the user vacuum deposited transparent conductors serve as primary sensing element. Vacuum coated layers can account for a significant fraction of touch system cost. Cost & application parameters are chief criteria for determining the appropriate type determining the system selection. Primarily, the touch system integrator must determine with what implement the user will touch the sensor with & what price the application will support.

Applications requiring activation by a gloved finger or arbitrary stylus such as a plastic pen will specify either a low cost resistive based sensor or a higher cost infra-red (IR) or surface acoustic wave (SAW) system. Applications anticipating bare finger input or amenable to a tethered pen comprises of the durable & fast capacitive touch systems. A higher price tag generally leads to increased durability better optical performance & larger price.

The most commonly used systems are generally the capacitive & resistive systems. The other technologies used in this field are Infrared technology & SAW (surface acoustic wave technology) these technologies are latest in this field but are very much expensive.

How Does a Touchscreen Work?

A basic touchscreen has three main components: a touch sensor, a controller, and a software driver. The touchscreen is an input device, so it needs to be combined with a display and a PC or other device to make a complete touch input system.

1.Touch Sensor A touch screen sensor is a clear glass panel with a touch responsive surface. The touch sensor/panel is placed over a display screen so that the responsive area of the panel covers the viewable area of the video screen. There are several different touch sensor technologies on the market today, each using a different method to detect touch input. The sensor generally has an electrical current or signal going through it and touching the screen causes a voltage or signal change. This voltage change is used to determine the location of the touch to the screen.

2. Controller The controller is a small PC card that connects between the touch sensor and the PC. It takes information from the touch sensor and translates it into information that PC can understand. The controller is usually installed inside the monitor for integrated monitors or it is housed in a plastic case for external touch add-ons/overlays. The controller determines

what type of interface/connection you will need on the PC. Integrated touch monitors will have an extra cable connection on the back for the touchscreen. Controllers are available that can connect to a Serial/COM port (PC) or to a USB port (PC or Macintosh). Specialized controllers are also available that work with DVD players and other devices.

3.Software Driver The driver is a software update for the PC system that allows the touchscreen and computer to work together. It tells the computer's operating system how to interpret the touch event information that is sent from the controller. Most touch screen drivers today are a mouse-emulation type driver. This makes touching the screen the same as clicking your mouse at the same location on the screen. This allows the touchscreen to work with existing software and allows new applications to be developed without the need for touchscreen specific programming. Some equipment such as thin client terminals, DVD players, and specialized computer systems either do not use software drivers or they have their own built-in touch screen driver.

Comparing Touch Technologies

Each type of screen has unique characteristics that can make it a better choice for certain applications.

The most widely used touchscreen technologies are the following:

4-Wire Resistive Touchscreens

4-Wire Resistive touch technology consists of a glass or acrylic panel that is coated with electrically conductive and resistive layers. The thin layers are separated by invisible separator dots. When operating, an electrical current moves through the screen. When pressure is applied to the screen the layers are pressed together, causing a change in the electrical current and a touch event to be registered. 4-Wire Resistive type touch screens are generally the most affordable. Although clarity is less than with other touch screen types, resistive screens are very durable and can be used in a variety of environments. This type of screen is recommended for individual, home, school, or office use, or less demanding pointof-sale systems, restaurant systems, etc.

Advantages Disadvantages High touch resolution Pressure sensitive, works with any stylus Not affected by dirt, dust, water, or light Affordable touchscreen technology 75 % clarity Resistive layers can be damaged by a sharp object Less durable then 5-Wire Resistive technology

Touchscreen Specifications

Touch Type: 4-Wire Resistive Screen Sizes: 12"-20" Diagonal Cable Interface: PC Serial/COM Port or USB Port Touch Resolution: 1024 x 1024 Response Time: 10 ms. maximum Positional Accuracy: 3mm maximum error Light Transmission: 80% nominal Life Expectancy: 3 million touches at one point Temperature: Operating: -10C to 70C Storage: -30C to 85C Humidity: Pass 40 degrees C, 95% RH for 96 hours. Chemical Resistance: Alcohol, acetone, grease, and general household detergent Software Drivers: Windows XP / 2000 / NT / ME / 98 / 95, Linux, Macintosh OS

5-Wire Resistive Touchscreens 5-Wire Resistive touch technology consists of a glass or acrylic panel that is coated with electrically conductive and resistive layers. The thin layers are separated by invisible separator dots. When operating, an electrical current moves through the screen. When pressure is applied to the screen the layers are

pressed together, causing a change in the electrical current and a touch event to be registered.

5-Wire Resistive type touch screens are generally more durable than the similiar 4-Wire Resistive type. Although clarity is less than with other touch screen types, resistive screens are very durable and can be used in a variety of environments. This type of screen is recommended for demanding point-of-sale systems, restaurant systems, industrial controls, and other workplace applications.

Advantages Disadvantages High touch resolution Pressure sensitive, works with any stylus Not affected by dirt, dust, water, or light More durable then 4-Wire Resistive technology 75 % clarity Resistive layers can be damaged by a sharp object

Touchscreen Specifications

Touch Type: 5-Wire Resistive Cable Interface: PC Serial/COM Port or USB Port Touch Resolution: 4096 x 4096 Response Time: 21 ms. Light Transmission: 80% +/-5% at 550 nm wavelength (visible light spectrum) Expected Life: 35 million touches at one point Temperature: Operating: -10C to 50C Storage: -40C to 71C Humidity: Operating: 90% RH at max 35C Storage: 90% RH at max 35C for 240 Chemical Resistance: Acetone, Methylene chloride, Methyl ethyl ketone , Isopropyl alcohol, Hexane, Turpentine, Mineral spirits, Unleaded Gasoline, Diesel Fuel, Motor Oil, Transmission Fluid, Antifreeze,

Ammonia based glass cleaner, Laundry Detergents, Cleaners (Formula 409, etc.), Vinegar, Coffee, Tea, Grease, Cooking Oil, Salt Software Drivers: Windows XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98, 95, 3.1, DOS, Macintosh OS, Linux, Unix (3rd Party)

Capacitive Touchscreens

A capacitive touch screen consists of a glass panel with a capacitive (charge storing) material coating its surface. Circuits located at corners of the screen measure the capacitance of a person touching the overlay. Frequency changes are measured to determine the X and Y coordinates of the touch event.

Capacitive type touch screens are very durable, and have a high clarity. They are used in a wide range of applications, from restaurant and POS use to industrial controls and information kiosks.

Advantages Disadvantages High touch resolution High image clarity Not affected by dirt, grease, moisture. Must be touched by finger, will not work with any nonconductive input

Touchscreen Specifications

Touch Type: Capacitive Cable Interface: PC Serial/COM Port (9-pin) or USB Port Touch Resolution: 1024 x 1024 Light Transmission: 88% at 550 nm wavelength (visible light spectrum) Durability Test: 100,000,000 plus touches at one point Temperature: Operating: -15C to 50C

Storage: -50C to 85C Humidity: Operating: 90% RH at max 40C, non-condensing Chemical Resistance: The active area of the touchscreen is resistant to all chemicals that do not affect glass, such as: Acetone, Toluene, Methyl ethyl ketone, Isopropyl alcohol, Methyl alcohol, Ethyl acetate, Ammonia-based glass cleaners, Gasoline, Kerosene, Vinegar Software Drivers: Windows XP, 2000, NT, ME, 98, 95, 3.1, DOS, Macintosh OS, Linux, Unix (3rd Party)

PenTouch Capacitive Touchscreens

PenTouch Capacitive touchscreen technology works with the CRT and LCD touch monitors. This screen combines durable Capacitive technology with a tethered pen stylus. The screen can be set to respond to finger input only, pen input only, or both. The pen stylus is a good choice for signature capture, on-screen annotations, or for applications requiring precise input.

Surface Acoustic Wave Touchscreens

Surface Acoustic Wave technology is one of the most advanced touch screen types. It is based on sending acoustic waves across a clear glass panel with a series of transducers and reflectors. When a finger touches the screen, the waves are absorbed, causing a touch event to be detected at that point. Because the panel is all glass there are no layers that can be worn, giving this technology the highest durability factor and also the highest clarity. This technology is recommended for public information kiosks, computer based training, or other high traffic indoor environments.

Advantages Disadvantages High touch resolution Highest image clarity All glass panel, no coatings or layers that can wear out or damage Must be touched by finger, gloved hand, or soft-tip stylus. Something hard like a pen won't work

Not completely sealable, can be affected by large amounts of dirt, dust, and / or water in the environment.

Near Field Imaging Touchscreens

NFI is one of the newest technologies. It consists of two laminated glass sheets with a patterned coating of transparent metal oxide in between. An AC signal is applied to the patterned conductive coating, creating an electrostatic field on the surface of the screen. When the finger or glove or other conductive stylus comes into contact with the sensor, the electrostatic field is disturbed. It is an extremely durable screen that is suited for use in industrial control systems and other harsh environments. The NFI type screen is not affected by most surface contaminants or scratches. Responds to finger or gloved hand.

Infrared Touchscreens

Infrared touch screen monitors are based on light-beam interruption technology. A frame surrounds the displays surface. The frame has light sources, or light-emitting diodes (LEDs),on one side, and light detectors on the opposite side. This design creates an optical grid across the screen. When any object touches the screen, the invisible light beam is interrupted, causing a drop in the signal received by the photo sensors. One concern with this technology is that it might respond to a very light touch, even that of an insect crossing the monitor, making unwanted system adjustments. This is the only type of touch technology that are available for large displays such as 42-inch Plasma screens. It is a durable technology that offers high image clarity. Responds to any input device or stylus.

Information Kiosk Systems

A Kiosk (pronounced key-osk) is a computer based terminal or display that is used to provide information or services, typically in a public place. Kiosk systems are being used in a variety of applications, including information directories, customer self-service terminals, electronic catalogs, internet access terminals, tourism guides, and more.

Complete Kiosk Systems

Several affordable and easy to use kiosk enclosures are available with integrated touch screen monitors. Available with several of the leading touchscreen technologies and with a variety of laminate, stained oak, and painted metal finishes.

Mountable Monitors for Kiosk Systems A variety of mountable displays that can be used in kiosk applications, including mountable CRT monitors and several types of mountable flat panel monitors are available.

Other Components for Kiosk Systems A variety of hardware components that can be used in information kiosk systems, including mountable printer, fan, and speaker grills are available.

Software for Kiosk Systems Several software packages can be used in a kiosk environment, including a presentation development package and an on-screen keyboard package.

Software, Cables, and Accessories

Software: Touchscreen related software, including presentation development software and other utilities


My-T-Soft On-Screen Keyboard Software

2. RIGHTTOUCH RightTouch Right-Click Utility Software

MYTSOFT My-T-Soft On-Screen Keyboard Software

My-T-Soft is an On-Screen keyboard utility that works with any Windows 95 / 98 / Me / NT / 2000 / XP software. It provides on-screen keyboards and user programmable buttons that allow users to enter data using a touchscreen display.

My-T-Soft can be used by itself in home or workplace applications, and it includes a developer's kit that allows the keyboard to be called up from Web pages and other programs.

By allowing systems to operate without the need for a physical keyboard, external templates, membranes, or buttons, My-T-Soft can provide the finishing touch on sealed systems that only require a touchscreen for user input.

My-T-Soft uses a concept called "Heads Up Display" technology and its principal objective is to keep the users focus and concentration centered in one place. My-T-Soft uses that concept to reduce the visual refocusing and re-positioning caused by the head's up and down motion of going from screen to keyboard to screen.

Features: Over 40 "Heads-Up Display" Keyboards with 12 base sizes and infinitely larger sizes

ABCD Alphabetical, QWERTY, 3 DVORAK's, and over 40 International (German, Spanish, French, etc.) with Edit and Numeric panels.

Store up to 2000 keystrokes/menu selections (or the applications macro scripts) on each button. Up to 15 buttons can be grouped on individual Panels, which auto-open when their assigned application becomes active.

Developer friendly Show & Hide keys, program keys in Key Options, Custom logo display, Operator mode, on-demand functionality. The Developer's Kit comes with all kinds of utilities, source code, sample code, and a wealth of information for integrating My-T-Soft with your own application. Assignable Functions for Pointing Device Buttons

RIGHTTOUCH RightTouch Right-Click Utility Software

An easy interface to bring Right Click capability to any touchscreen.

Most touchscreens work by emulating left mouse button clicks, so that touching the screen is the same as clicking your left mouse button at that same point on the screen. But what if you need to right click on an item? Some touchscreens do include right click support, but many do not. The Right Touch utility provides an easy way to perform right clicks with any touchscreen.

The Right Touch utility places a button on your desktop that allows you to switch the touchscreen between left and right clicks. When the screen is emulating left clicks, simply touch the Right Touch button to change to right click mode. Touch again, and you're back to the standard left click.

Software Requirements Windows95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP

Please Note: Many of the touchscreen systems include a similar right-click tool with their software driver. The Right-Touch software is useful for touchscreens that do not have an included right click utility.

Cables: Cables for use with the touch monitors, includes video and serial port extension cables.

Serial Cables SERIAL25: 25-Foot Serial Extension Cable SERIAL50: 50-Foot Serial Extension Cable SERIAL100: 100-Foot Serial Extension

VGA Video Cables VGA25: 25-Foot VGA Extension Cable VGA50: 50-Foot VGA Extension Cable VGA100: 100-Foot VGA Extension Cable

VGA-Y: VGA Video Y-Splitter Cable


Stylus Pens A stylus pen can be used along with our touchscreen systems for precise input.


Stylus Pen for Resistive Touchscreens


Stylus Pen for Surface Acoustic Wave Touchscreens

Touch Screen Drivers

UPD Driver 3.5.18 These drivers are for 3M Dynapro SC3 and SC4 Controllers The new UPD Driver will work for the following controllers: SC3 Serial, SC4 Serial, SC4 USB. Supported platforms are Win2000/WinNT/Win9x/Me/XP. DOS and other drivers

Linux Drivers for SC3 and SC4 Controllers Linux drivers for SC3 and SC4 were developed by a third party, not 3M Touch Systems, and are provided for our customers convenience. 3M Touch Systems cannot offer any warranty or technical support for them.

Linux Drivers

TouchWare Driver, Release 5.63 SR3 These drivers are for MicroTouch Touch Controllers (EXII, SMT3, MT3000, MT410, MT510)

This release improves performance for Windows XP drivers. It provides multiple monitor support, including dual head video adapters, from TouchWare 5.63. Supported platforms are WinXP/Win2000/WinNT/Win9x/Me. This service release also corrects known problems with silent installation. Microcal 7.1 Use this utility to modify controller settings and to calibrate the sensor at different resolutions under DOS. Microcal is compatible with fully-integrated ClearTek capacitive and TouchTek resistive touchscreens. This release supports any serial and PS/2 SMT controller, PC BUS controllers and the MT400 controller. Near Field Imaging OEM Drivers Use the OEM drivers below with Near Field Imaging touch screen products.

For Windows NT/9X: 8.4-inch Near Field Imaging touch screens (approx. 2.5MB)

For Windows NT/9X/3.1 and MS-DOS: 10.4-inch and larger Near Field Imaging touch screens (approx> 3.6MB)

For Windows XP/2000 for 10.4-inch and larger Near Field Imaging touch screens

Linux Drivers for NFI Linux drivers for NFI were developed by a third party, not 3M Touch Systems, and are provided for our customers' convenience. 3M Touch Systems cannot offer any warranty or technical support for them.


The touch screen is one of the easiest PC interfaces to use, making it the interface of choice for a wide variety of applications. Here are a few examples of how touch input systems are being used today:

1. Public Information Displays Information kiosks, tourism displays, trade show displays, and other electronic displays are used by many people that have little or no computing experience. The user-friendly touch screen interface can be less intimidating and easier to use than other input devices, especially for novice users. A touchscreen can help make your information more easily accessible by allowing users to navigate your presentation by simply touching the display screen

2. Retail and Restaurant Systems Time is money, especially in a fast paced retail or restaurant environment. Touchscreen systems are easy to use so employees can get work done faster, and training time can be reduced for new employees. And because input is done right on the screen, valuable counter space can be saved. Touchscreens can be used in cash registers, order entry stations, seating and reservation systems, and more

3. Customer Self-Service In today's fast pace world, waiting in line is one of the things that has yet to speed up. Self-service touch

screen terminals can be used to improve customer service at busy stores, fast service restaurants, transportation hubs, and more. Customers can quickly place their own orders or check themselves in or out, saving them time, and decreasing wait times for other customers. Automated bank teller (ATM) and airline e-ticket terminals are examples of self-service stations that can benefit from touchscreen input.

4. Control and Automation Systems The touch screen interface is useful in systems ranging from industrial process control to home automation. By integrating the input device with the display, valuable workspace can be saved. And with a graphical interface, operators can monitor and control complex operations in real-time by simply touching the screen.

5. Computer Based Training Because the touch screen interface is more user-friendly than other input devices, overall training time for computer novices, and therefore training expense, can be reduced. It can also help to make learning more fun and interactive, which can lead to a more beneficial training experience for both students and educators.

6. Assistive Technology The touch screen interface can be beneficial to those that have difficulty using other input devices such as a mouse or keyboard. When used in conjunction with software such as on-screen keyboards, or other assistive technology, they can help make computing resources more available to people that have difficulty using computers.

Take a look at how one of our customers, CHI Centers, Inc., has developed a system that allows nonverbal individuals to communicate using a PC and touchscreen display.


Touch screens have several advantages over other pointing devices:

Touching a visual display of choices requires little thinking and is a form of direct manipulation that is easy to learn.

Touch screens are the fastest pointing devices.

Touch screens have easier hand eye coordination than mice or keyboards.

No extra work space is required as with other pointing devices.

Touch screens are durable in public access and in high volume usage.


Users hand may obscure the screen.

Screens need to be installed at a lower position and tilted to reduce arm fatigue.

Some reduction in image brightness may occur.

They cost more than alternative devices.


Touch systems represent a rapidly growing subset of the display market. The majority of touch systems include touch sensors relying on vacuum-deposited coatings, so touch coatings present opportunity for suppliers of vacuum coatings and coating equipments.

Touch sensor manufactures currently require thin films in the areas of transparent conductors, optical interference coating and mechanical protective coatings. Touch sensors technical requirements dovetail

well with those of the flat panel and display filter markets. The reality should provide value added opportunities to operations participating in these areas.


1. www.touchscreen.org 2. www.touchscreen.com 3. www.wikipedia.org


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A boy is solving a computerized puzzle using a touchscreen.

A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area. The term generally refers to touching the display of the device with afinger or hand. Touchscreens can also sense other passive objects, such as a stylus. Touchscreens are common in devices such as game consoles, all-in-one computers, tablet computers, and smartphones. The touchscreen has two main attributes. First, it enables one to interact directly with what is displayed, rather than indirectly with a pointer controlled by a mouse or touchpad. Secondly, it lets one do so without requiring any intermediate device that would need to be held in the hand (other than a stylus, which is optional for most modern touchscreens). Such displays can be attached to computers, or to networks as terminals. They also

play a prominent role in the design of digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices,mobile phones, and video games.

1 History 2 Technologies

2.1 Resistive 2.2 Surface acoustic wave 2.3 Capacitive

2.3.1 Surface capacitance 2.3.2 Projected capacitance Mutual capacitance Selfcapacitance

2.4 Infrared 2.5 Optical imaging 2.6 Dispersive signal technology 2.7 Acoustic pulse recognition

3 Construction 4 Development 5 Ergonomics and usage

5.1 Fingernail as stylus 5.2 Fingerprints 5.3 Combined with haptics 5.4 Gorilla arm

6 Screen protectors 7 See also

8 Notes 9 References 10 External links


The prototype[1] x-y mutual capacitance touchscreen (left) developed at CERN[2][3] in 1977 by Bent Stumpe, a Danish electronics engineer, for the control room of CERNs accelerator SPS (Super Proton Synchrotron). This was a further development of the self-capacitance screen(right), also developed by Stumpe at CERN[4]in 1972.

The first touch screen was a capacitive touch screen developed by E.A. Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK. The inventor briefly described his work in a short article published in 1965[5] and then more fully - along with photographs and diagrams - in an article published in 1967.[6] A description of the applicability of the touch technology for air traffic control was described in an article published in 1968.[7] Contrary to many accounts,[8] while Dr. Sam Hurst played an important role in the development of touch technologies, he neither invented the first touch sensor, nor the first touch screen.[citation needed]

This touch sensitive pad on the Acer Aspire 8920laptop can increase and reduce the volume of the speakers.

Touchscreens have subsequently become familiar in everyday life. Companies use touchscreens for kiosk systems in retail and tourist settings, point of sale systems, ATMs, and PDAs, where astylus is sometimes used to manipulate the GUI and to enter data. From 19791985, the Fairlight CMI (and Fairlight CMI IIx) was a high-end musical sampling and re-synthesis workstation that utilized light pen technology, with which the user could allocate and manipulate sample and synthesis data, as well as access different menus within its OS by touching the screen with the light pen. The later Fairlight series IIT models used a graphics tablet in place of the light pen. The HP-150 from 1983 was one of the world's earliest commercial touchscreen computers. Similar to the PLATO IV system, the touch technology used employed infrared transmitters and receivers mounted around the bezel of its 9" Sony Cathode Ray Tube (CRT), which detected the position of any non-transparent object on the screen. An early attempt at a handheld game console with touchscreen controls was Sega's intended successor to the Game Gear, though the device was ultimately shelved and never released due to the expensive cost of touchscreen technology in the early 1990s. Touchscreens would not be popularly used for video games until the release of the Nintendo DS in 2004.[9]

iPad tablet computer on a stand

Until recently, most consumer touchscreens could only sense one point of contact at a time, and few have had the capability to sense how hard one is touching. This is starting to change with the commercialization of multitouch technology. The popularity of smartphones, tablet computers, portable video game consoles and many types of information appliances is driving the demand and acceptance of common touchscreens, for portable and functional electronics. With a display of a simple smooth surface, and direct interaction without any hardware (keyboard or mouse) between the user and content, fewer accessories are required.

Touchscreens are popular in the hospitality field, and in heavy industry, as well as kiosks such as museum displays or room automation, where keyboard and mouse systems do not allow a suitably intuitive, rapid, or accurate interaction by the user with the display's content. Historically, the touchscreen sensor and its accompanying controller-based firmware have been made available by a wide array of after-market system integrators, and not by display, chip, or motherboard manufacturers. Display manufacturers and chip manufacturers worldwide have acknowledged the trend toward acceptance of touchscreens as a highly desirable user interface component and have begun to integrate touchscreens into the fundamental design of their products.

There are a variety of touchscreen technologies:

Main article: Resistive touchscreen A resistive touchscreen panel comprises several layers, the most important of which are two thin, transparent electrically-resistive layers separated by a thin space. These layers face each other, with a thin gap between. One resistive layer is a coating on the underside of the top surface of the screen. Just beneath it is a similar resistive layer on top of its substrate. One layer has conductive connections along its sides, the other along top and bottom. When an object, such as a fingertip or stylus tip, presses down on the outer surface, the two layers touch to become connected at that point: The panel then behaves as a pair of voltage dividers, one axis at a time. For a short time, the associated electronics (device controller) applies a voltage to the opposite sides of one layer, while the other layer senses the proportion (think percentage) of voltage at the contact point. That provides the horizontal [x] position. Then, the controller applies a voltage to the top and bottom edges of the other layer (the one that just sensed the amount of voltage); the first layer now senses height [y]. The controller rapidly alternates between these two modes. As well, it sends position data to the CPU in the device, where it's interpreted according to what the user is doing. Resistive touch is used in restaurants, factories and hospitals due to its high resistance to liquids and contaminants. A major benefit of resistive touch technology is its low cost. Disadvantages include the need to press down, and a risk of damage by sharp objects.


acoustic wave

Main article: Surface acoustic wave

Surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology uses ultrasonic waves that pass over the touchscreen panel. When the panel is touched, a portion of the wave is absorbed. This change in the ultrasonic waves registers the position of the touch event and sends this information to the controller for processing. Surface wave touchscreen panels can be damaged by outside elements. Contaminants on the surface can also interfere with the functionality of the touchscreen.[10]


Capacitive touchscreen of a mobile phone

Main article: Capacitive sensing A capacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO).[11][12] As the human body is also an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen's electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location is then sent to the controller for processing. Unlike a resistive touchscreen, one cannot use a capacitive touchscreen through most types of electrically insulating material, such as gloves; one requires a special capacitive stylus, or a special-application glove with an embroidered patch of conductive thread passing through it and contacting the user's fingertip. This disadvantage especially affects usability in consumer electronics, such as touch tablet PCs and capacitive smartphones in cold weather.

[edit]Surface capacitance
In this basic technology, only one side of the insulator is coated with a conductive layer. A small voltage is applied to the layer, resulting in a uniform electrostatic field. When a conductor, such as a human finger, touches the uncoated surface, a capacitor is dynamically formed. The sensor's controller can determine the location of the touch indirectly from the change in the capacitance as measured from the four corners of the panel. As it has no moving parts, it is moderately durable but has limited resolution, is prone to false signals from parasitic capacitive coupling, and needscalibration during manufacture. It is therefore most often used in simple applications such as industrial controls and kiosks.[13]

[edit]Projected capacitance
Projected Capacitive Touch (PCT) technology is a capacitive technology which permits more accurate and flexible operation. An X-Y grid is formed either by etching a single conductive layer to form a grid pattern of electrodes, or by etching two separate, perpendicular layers of conductive material with parallel lines or tracks to form the grid (comparable to the pixel grid found in many LCD displays) that the conducting layers can be coated with further protective insulating layers, and operate even under screen protectors, or behind weather- and vandal-proof glass. Due to the top layer of a PCT being glass, it is a more robust solution than resistive touch technology. Depending on the implementation, an active or passive stylus can be used instead of or in addition to a finger. This is common with point of sale devices that require signature capture. Gloved fingers may or may not be sensed, depending on the implementation and gain settings. Conductive smudges and similar interference on the panel surface can interfere with the performance. Such conductive smudges come mostly from sticky or sweaty finger tips, especially in high humidity environments. Collected dust, which adheres to the screen due to the moisture from fingertips can also be a problem. There are two types of PCT: Self Capacitance and Mutual Capacitance. A PCT screen consists of an insulator such as glass or foil, coated with a transparent conductor sensing (Copper, ATO, Nanocarbon or ITO). As the human finger (is also a conductor) touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the local electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance.Now PCT used mutual capacitance, which is the more common projected capacitive approach and makes use of the fact that most conductive objects are able to hold a charge if they are very close together. If another conductive object, in this case a finger, bridges the gap, the charge field is interrupted and detected by the controller. All PCT touch screens are made up of an electrode - a matrix of rows and columns. The capacitance can be changed at every individual point on the grid (intersection). It can be measured to accurately determine the exactly touch location.[14] All projected capacitive touch (PCT) solutions have three key features in common: Sensor as matrix of rows and columns. Sensor lies behind the touch surface. Sensor does not use any moving parts.

[edit]Mutual capacitance
In mutual capacitive sensors, there is a capacitor at every intersection of each row and each column. A 16-by14 array, for example, would have 224 independent capacitors. A voltage is applied to the rows or columns. Bringing a finger or conductive stylus close to the surface of the sensor changes the local electrostatic field which reduces the mutual capacitance. The capacitance change at every individual point on the grid can be measured to accurately determine the touch location by measuring the voltage in the other axis. Mutual capacitance allows multi-touch operation where multiple fingers, palms or styli can be accurately tracked at the same time.

Self-capacitance sensors can have the same X-Y grid as mutual capacitance sensors, but the columns and rows operate independently. With self-capacitance, the capacitive load of a finger is measured on each column or row electrode by a current meter. This method produces a stronger signal than mutual capacitance, but it is unable to resolve accurately more than one finger, which results in "ghosting", or misplaced location sensing.


Infrared sensors mounted around the display watch for a user's touchscreen input on this PLATO V terminal in 1981. The monochromatic plasma display's characteristic orange glow is illustrated.

An infrared touchscreen uses an array of X-Y infrared LED and photodetector pairs around the edges of the screen to detect a disruption in the pattern of LED beams. These LED beams cross each other in vertical and horizontal patterns. This helps the sensors pick up the exact location of the touch. A major benefit of such a system is that it can detect essentially any input including a finger, gloved finger, stylus or pen. It is generally used in outdoor applications and point of sale systems which can't rely on a conductor (such as a bare finger) to activate the touchscreen. Unlike capacitive touchscreens, infrared touchscreens do not require any patterning on the glass which increases durability and optical clarity of the overall system.



This is a relatively modern development in touchscreen technology, in which two or more image sensors are placed around the edges (mostly the corners) of the screen. Infrared back lights are placed in the camera's field of view on the other side of the screen. A touch shows up as a shadow and each pair of cameras can then

be pinpointed to locate the touch or even measure the size of the touching object (see visual hull). This technology is growing in popularity, due to its scalability, versatility, and affordability, especially for larger units.


signal technology

Introduced in 2002 by 3M, this system uses sensors to detect the Piezoelectricity in the glass that occurs due to a touch. Complex algorithms then interpret this information and provide the actual location of the touch.

The technology claims to be unaffected by dust and other outside elements, including scratches. Since there

is no need for additional elements on screen, it also claims to provide excellent optical clarity. Also, since mechanical vibrations are used to detect a touch event, any object can be used to generate these events, including fingers and stylus. A downside is that after the initial touch the system cannot detect a motionless finger.


pulse recognition

In this system, introduced by Tyco International's Elo division in 2006, the key to the invention is that a touch at each position on the glass generates a unique sound. Four tiny transducers attached to the edges of the touchscreen glass pick up the sound of the touch. The sound is then digitized by the controller and compared to a list of prerecorded sounds for every position on the glass. The cursor position is instantly updated to the touch location. APR is designed to ignore extraneous and ambient sounds, as they do not match a stored sound profile. APR differs from other attempts to recognize the position of touch with transducers or microphones, as it uses a simple table lookup method rather than requiring powerful and expensive signal processing hardware to attempt to calculate the touch location without any references.[16] The touchscreen itself is made of ordinary glass, giving it good durability and optical clarity. It is usually able to function with scratches and dust on the screen with good accuracy. The technology is also well suited to displays that are physically larger. As with the Dispersive Signal Technology system, after the initial touch, a motionless finger cannot be detected. However, for the same reason, the touch recognition is not disrupted by any resting objects.

There are several principal ways to build a touchscreen. The key goals are to recognize one or more fingers touching a display, to interpret the command that this represents, and to communicate the command to the appropriate application. In the most popular techniques, the capacitive or resistive approach, there are typically four layers; 1. 2. 3. 4. Top polyester coated with a transparent metallic conductive coating on the bottom Adhesive spacer Glass layer coated with a transparent metallic conductive coating on the top Adhesive layer on the backside of the glass for mounting.

When a user touches the surface, the system records the change in the electrical current that flows through the display. Dispersive-signal technology which 3M created in 2002, measures the piezoelectric effect the voltage generated when mechanical force is applied to a material that occurs chemically when a strengthened glass substrate is touched. There are two infrared-based approaches. In one, an array of sensors detects a finger touching or almost touching the display, thereby interrupting light beams projected over the screen. In the other, bottommounted infrared cameras record screen touches. In each case, the system determines the intended command based on the controls showing on the screen at the time and the location of the touch.

Most touchscreen patents were filed during the 1970s and 1980s and have expired. Touchscreen component manufacturing and product design are no longer encumbered by royalties or legalities with regard to patents and the use of touchscreen-enabled displays is widespread. The development of multipoint touchscreens facilitated the tracking of more than one finger on the screen; thus, operations that require more than one finger are possible. These devices also allow multiple users to interact with the touchscreen simultaneously. With the growing use of touchscreens, the marginal cost of touchscreen technology is routinely absorbed into the products that incorporate it and is nearly eliminated. Touchscreens now have proven reliability. Thus, touchscreen displays are found today in airplanes, automobiles, gaming consoles, machine control systems, appliances, and handheld display devices including the Nintendo DS and the later multi-touch enabled iPhones; the touchscreen market for mobile devices is projected to produce US$5 billion in 2009.[17] The ability to accurately point on the screen itself is also advancing with the emerging graphics tablet/screen hybrids. October 2011: TapSense can distinguish between different parts of the hand, such as fingertip and fingernail, so it can be functioned as lower case and capital letter instruction.[18]

[edit]Ergonomics [edit]Fingernail

and usage

as stylus

Pointed nail for easier typing. The concept of using a fingernail trimmed to form a point, to be specifically used as a styluson a writing tablet for communication, appeared in the 1950 science fiction short story Scanners Live in Vain.

These ergonomic issues of direct touch can be bypassed by using a different technique, provided that the user's fingernails are either short or sufficiently long. Rather than pressing with the soft skin of an outstretched fingertip, the finger is curled over, so that the tip of a fingernail can be used instead. This method does not work on capacitive touchscreens. The fingernail's hard, curved surface contacts the touchscreen at one very small point. Therefore, much less finger pressure is needed, much greater precision is possible (approaching that of a stylus, with a little experience), much less skin oil is smeared onto the screen, and the fingernail can be silently moved across the screen with very little resistance,[citation needed] allowing for selecting text, moving windows, or drawing lines. The human fingernail consists of keratin which has a hardness and smoothness similar to the tip of a stylus (and so will not typically scratch a touchscreen). Alternatively, very short stylus tips are available, which slip right onto the end of a finger; this increases visibility of the contact point with the screen.

Touchscreens can suffer from the problem of fingerprints on the display. This can be mitigated by the use of materials with optical coatings designed to reduce the visible effects of fingerprint oils, oroleophobic coatings as used in the iPhone 3G S, which lessen the actual amount of oil residue, or by installing a matte-finish anti-glare screen protector, which creates a slightly roughened surface that does not easily retain smudges, or by reducing skin contact by using a fingernail or stylus.


with haptics

Touchscreens are often used with haptic response systems. An example of this technology would be a system that caused the device to vibrate when a button on the touchscreen was tapped. The user experience with touchscreens lacking tactile feedback or haptics can be difficult due to latency or other factors. Research from the University of Glasgow Scotland [Brewster, Chohan, and Brown 2007 and more recently Hogan]

demonstrates that sample users reduce input errors (20%), increase input speed (20%), and lower their cognitive load (40%) when touchscreens are combined with haptics or tactile feedback [vs. non-haptic touchscreens].



The Jargon File dictionary of hacker slang defined "gorilla arm" as the failure to understand the ergonomics of vertically mounted touchscreens for prolonged use. The proposition is that the human arm held in an unsupported horizontal position rapidly becomes fatigued and painful, the so-called "gorilla arm".[19] It is often cited as a prima facie example of what not to do in ergonomics. Vertical touchscreens still dominate in applications such as ATMs and data kiosks in which the usage is too brief to be an ergonomic problem.[citation

Discomfort might be caused by previous poor posture and atrophied muscular systems caused by limited physical exercise.[20] Fine art painters are also often subject to neck and shoulder pains due to their posture and the repetitiveness of their movements while painting.[21]



Some touchscreens, primarily those employed in smartphones, use transparent plastic protectors to prevent any scratches that might be caused by day-to-day use from becoming permanent.



Dual-touchscreen Energy harvesting Flexible keyboard Gestural interface Graphics tablet Graphics tablet-screen hybrid List of Touch Solution manufacturers Tablet PC Touch switch Touchscreen remote control Omnitouch SixthSense