Have you heard of multi-touch technology? It’s a common feature of touchscreen devices. With multi-touch technology, you can perform touch commands using two or more simultaneous points of contact.

#1) Pioneered By CERN

Multi-touch technology has origins dating back to the 1970s when it was developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). At the time, engineers at CERN needed a new control system for their Super Proton Synchrotron. Therefore, they developed a touchscreen panel that supports multiple points of simultaneous contact, resulting in the advent of multi-touch technology.

#2) Popularized By Apple

Although it was originally developed by engineers at CERN, multi-touch technology was popularized by Apple. In 2007, Apple released the first-generation iPhone, which among other things, featured multi-touch technology. Apple touted the iPhone’s multi-touch technology as a key selling point. Since then, all subsequent generations of the iPhone, as well as many other modern-day smartphones, have featured multi-touch technology.

#3) Leverages an ASIC Sensor

Multi-touch technology is capable through the use of an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) sensor. In multi-touch touchscreen devices, an ASIC sensor is embedded in the panel. When you perform a touch command that involves two or more simultaneous points of contact, the ASIC sensor will register this information and relay it to the controller for processing. Although there are other ways to detect multi-touch commands, most touchscreen devices leverage an ASIC sensor for this task.

#4) Supported By Capacitive Touchscreens

Most capacitive touchscreens support multi-touch technology. Whether it’s a surface capacitive or projected capacitive touchscreen, it should support multi-touch technology. Capacitive touchscreens such as these measure capacitance to determine when and where a touch command occurs. Touching the display interface of a capacitive touchscreen will change its capacitance in the location of your touch command. Therefore, you can perform multiple touch commands at the same time while triggering a change of capacitance in multiple locations. Nearly all capacitive touchscreens support multi-touch technology such as this.

#5) Supported By IR and SAW Touchscreens

Capacitive touchscreens aren’t the only touchscreen devices that support multi-touch technology. Most infrared (IR) and surface acoustic wave (SAW) touchscreen support it as well. IR touchscreens and SAW touchscreens use different methods to detect touch commands. The former uses IR light, whereas the latter uses sound waves. Regardless, they can both detect two or more simultaneous points of contact. This allows them to support multi-touch technology.