How do touch screens work?

touchscreen exampleWhen computers first came out, the method of input was not a mouse or keyboard is but rather you had to punch cards with holes and feed them to computers for them to carry out any function. Since then there has been a lot of changes in the technology which is used in the computers and these days you have many different input methods for the computers ranging from the most common one that is using a keyboard and a mouse to the more advanced one like using voice recognition commands to make the computer implement the functions which you wanted to implement.

All these are changing as well with the help of a new technology which is touch screen technology because with this technology you can directly give commands to the computer by touching the screen of the computer and this is already being used in smart phones and therefore now it is being implemented in computers as well.

Working of traditional keyboards:

You might be thinking that what is keyboard got to do with the touchscreen but in a touchscreen that working is similar to a keyboard only in this case the keyboard is invisible. That is why, first you have to understand the working of the keyboard and only then you would be able to understand the touchscreen working easily as well.

The keyboard is consisting of a circuit for each and every button which you can place in the keyboard and directly below the key is the part of the circuit which is not currently connected with the connector which is coming towards that key, when you press that particular key you are pressing the connected with the conductor which is below it and the circuit gets completed and the electrical signal gets generated which is sent to the computer and thereby recognising the key which was pressed. If none of the key in the keyboard is pressed then you can say that all the circuits which are below the keys are broken and therefore no electrical signal is generated.Below the key, there is a piece of rubber due to which it bounces back into position when you release the key and this piece of rubber insulates the current which is flowing through the circuit from the upper part of the keyboard and thereby keeping the user safe.

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Touchscreen works on the same principle but it does not use such searches are pieces of rubber or any other mechanical parts because that would block the view of the screen. This process is carried out by the touchscreen in a completely invisible way so that the information which is displayed on the screen is visible as well.

Working of touch screen:

working of touch screen

There are many different types of touchscreen depending on the method of detection which is used and depending on the method of detection you can also easily decide whether the screen would be able to detect a single touch at a time or whether it can detect multiple inputs in the form of touch at a time. We would be discussing about some of the most common forms of touch screen below.

Resistive touch screen:

resistive touchscreen
This type of touch screen is very affordable as compared to the other forms of touch screen. Just below the screen there is a layer of polyester which is a good conductor and then there is and so later and then there is a layer of conducting glass and without any kind of pressure applied to any part of the input the insulator in between ensures that there is no circuit connection and therefore there is no signal or electricity flowing. When you touch the screen you are forcing the conducting polyester into the glass conductor and thereby completing the circuit and depending on the area where you have applied the input that is applied the touch the chip would be detecting the coordinates and giving the input to the computer.

Capacitive touch screen:

capacitive touch screen

This type of screen consist of two glass layers with the insulator in between them and since both the layers of glass are good conductor of electricity they both can create a electric field in between them but this electric field is disturbed by the touch which you are applying to the screen and therefore depending on the disturbance in this electric field the electrical signal is generated which would determine what was the input which you gave in terms of the coordinates where you have touched the screen. This is the most widely used touch screen technology because it allows multiple touch points at the same time. The only disadvantage is that when you’re giving the input with the help of a plastic stylus, it would not be detecting the input since the plastic stylus is a bad conductor of electricity and therefore it would not be able to alter the electric field.

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Infrared touch screen:

infrared touch screen
This type of touchscreen creates a web of rays from the LEDs which are placed at the side of the screen and therefore when you’re touching at any point on the screen you are actually disrupting the flow of these rays and the microchip detects which rays you have disrupted and depending on this there determine where you have provided the input to the screen. Since, this type of touch screen is working on the principle of disrupting the rays and not based on the conduction of electricity or on the disturbance in the electric field, a stylus can also be easily used to provide the input.
Surface acoustic touch screen:

surface acoustic touch screen
This type of touch screen works in the same way as the infrared touch screen but the only difference is that instead of the infrared light being generated as a grid on the touch screen, a layer of ultrasonic sound waves is generated which is passed on back and forth on the screen and if you provide the input you would be disturbing the ultrasonic sound waves and the microchip can detect depending on which waves are disturbed the position of the input which you give with the help of the touch.

Field imaging touch screen:

field imaging touch screen
if you noticed while listening to a radio if you move your hand too close to the radio then you would realise that there is a disturbance in the radio and this is because you are disturbing the electromagnetic field which is around the radio and this same phenomenon is used in the field imaging touch screen. When you touch a part of the screen which is working on the field imaging technology you would be disturbing the electromagnetic field which is around that screen and therefore the screen would be able to detect where you have provided the touch input. This kind of technology also works with stylus as well as pens as well as hand gloves.

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Light pens:

light pen technology
Most of you might have not seen light pens but they were the most earliest form of touch screen technology which was used and the working principle of the light pens was completely different than the working principle of the modern-day touch screens. In the earlier computer monitors, the technology which was used to present the picture was similar to that of a television that is with the help of the electron-beam which scanned the entire screen again and again to produce the picture and when you are the light pen used to touch a certain part of the screen it would act like a photoelectric cell and would send a signal to the screen regarding the position of the light pen and thereby the screen would be knowing where the light pen is exactly touching and providing the output accordingly.

Advantages of touch screen:

Touch screens are completely change the ways in which we use the computers and any other machine which is using the touchscreen technology because it is actually become much more easier to give commands to the computer rather than relying on the mouse and the keyboard. The message can directly be displayed on the screen and the answer can also be displayed on the screen and people would just how to touch a particular part of the screen to give input to the computer or the machine. This technology is being used in the smart phones as well as the public kiosk as well as the automatic teller machines and even the personal gadgets like tablets and now this technology is even being used in restaurants and other commercial applications as well.

The technology is being spread to each and every machine along with the computers and along with the smart phones to ensure that there is an alternative method which is much easier than the keypad or the keyboard to provide the input to the machine.

Numerous corporate giants have time and again reiterated that, touchscreen is the technology and the way to go for the future.