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A touch screen is a computer display screen that is sensitive to human touch , allowing a user to interact with the computer by touching pictures or words on the screen. A touch screen is an input device that allows users to operate a PC by simply touching the display screen which has a sensitive glass overlay placed on it. A touch screen accepts direct onscreen inputs.

How Does a Touchscreen Work?

A basic touchscreen has three main components: 1 Touch sensor; 2 Controller; 3 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.

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 can cause a voltage or signal change. This change is used to determine the location of the touch to the screen.


The controller 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 determines what type of interface/connection you will need on the PC. Controllers are available that can connect to a Serial/COM port (PC) or to a USB port. Specialized controllers are also available that work with DVD players and other devices.

Software Driver

The driver 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 as 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.

Touchscreen Technologies

Resistive Capacitive
Surface Projected

Optical imaging

Resistive Touchscreen

Composed of multiple layers separated by thin spaces Using indium tin oxide (ITO) layers Different standards 4, 5, and 8 wire types Each have advantages


Works well with fingertip or stylus input Generally most affordable touchscreen technology Rugged/Durable Has multi-touch input capabilities Stantum Touchco


Not as accurate Multi-touch much more complex

Usually no discretion between stylus and hand

More pressure needed

Consists of:
Insulator (glass or Air) Conductive coating (ITO)

Two types:
Surface projected

Only one side is coated Electrodes at the edges

Distribute voltage

Projected Capacitance

Two parallel ITO layers Two sheets of glass




Limited resolution Single touch Operation with direct contact

High resolution Multi touch Operation with indirect contact

Infrared touchscreen

Infrared (IR) technology relies on the interruption of an IR light grid in front of the display screen. The touch frame contains a row of IR-light emitting diode (LEDs) and photo transistors, each mounted on two opposite sides to create a grid of invisible infrared light. The IR controller sequentially pulses the LEDs to create a grid of IR light beams. When a stylus, such as a finger, enters the grid, it obstructs the beams. One or more photo transistors from each axis detect the absence of light and transmit signals that identifies the x and y coordinates.

Infrared touchscreen

Public Information Displays

tourism displays , tradeshow displays.

Customer Self-service And many more uses

stores restaurants ,transportation hubs , ATM and airline e-ticket terminals.

computerized gaming ,students registration systems , multimedia software , financial and scientific applications, and more.


screens , touch panels or touch screen panels are display and receive information on the same screen Touch screens also have assisted in recent changs in the PDAs , making these devices more usable.