Just about every electronic device these days is operated by touch. You can probably blame Apple for this phenomenon thanks to its all touch iPhone. But Steve Jobs was ahead of his time and saw the future. He was right and every phone ion 2013 is touch. But it hasn’t stopped there. The rise of touch screen tablets have no given way to touch screen display on laptops. Windows 8 is built upon this way of innovation.
But how to “touch” actually work? There are five types of sensing methods: Resistive, Capacitive, SAW (surface adoptive waves), Infrared optical imaging and Electromagnetic induction. All have their own advantages and disadvantages, but for now I am going to focus and compare the two most popular: Resistive and Capacitive.
Resistive is what you encounter on everyday products like, smartphones, Nintendo DS games, and automobile in-dash navigation systems. When you touch the screen you are actually touching a thin layer of film. The film, in-turn, is on top of an electrode layer that senses pressure. Pressing this allows the electrodes to contact the glass which will send off electrical currents to give instructions to the tiny computer underneath the glass. It’s simple and very effective. One disadvantage is that the display screen is fragile and it is a good reason why you should own a case for your phone.
Capacitive screens work in a similar manner and can be found on you phone, too, but the input method works directly with the static electricity within the human body. Machine with these screens are highly resistant to water drops and dust, but does not work well (or at all) when wearing gloves, and you’ll need a special stylus if work warrants one.
In testing laboratories it has been proven that light transmittance is better for Capacitive screens as opposed to Resistive, but those studies are a few years old and with newer display technology emerging every year, that is less of an issue these days.
Above all, double check with the manufactures specs when buying your new tech gadgets.