Touchscreens are often powered by different technologies. Some of them are powered by capacitive technology, whereas others are powered by resistive technology. While not as common as capacitive and resistive, there’s also infrared (IR) touchscreen technology. IR touchscreens leverage IR light to detect touch commands. Below are five things you need to know about IR touchscreens.

#1) Use LEDs

IR touchscreens use light-emitting diodes (LEDs). They feature small IR-beaming LEDs around the perimeter of the display device. These aren’t normal LEDs. Rather, they are IR-beaming LEDs that are designed to produce IR light. All IR touchscreens work by passing IR light across the surface of the display interface.

#2) LEDs Paired With Photodetectors

The LEDs in IR touchscreens are paired with photodetectors. Also known as photosensors, photodetectors are devices that measure or sense light. The perimeter of a typical IR touchscreen features pairs of LEDs and photodetectors. The LEDs produce IR light that travels across the display interface before reaching a photodetector on the opposite side.

If you perform a touch command, you’ll block the IR light — and the photodetector will identify this disruption as a touch command. The photodetector on the opposite end of the LED won’t receive any IR light. Therefore, the IR touchscreen will register your touch command in that area.

#3) Doesn’t Require a Bare Finger

You aren’t limited to controlling IR touchscreens with a bare finger. They support all types of touch commands. With an IR touchscreen, you can use a bare finger, a gloved finger, a stylus or pretty much any other object. Any physical object that’s placed on the display interface will block the IR light. Therefore, IR touchscreens support all types of touch commands.

#4) No Patterning on the Top Layer

There’s no patterning on the top layer of an IR touchscreen. The top layer is typically made of glass — just like the top layer of capacitive touchscreens. While capacitive touchscreens often feature patterning on the top layer, though, IR touchscreens don’t. The top layer is made of smooth glass. It doesn’t require patterning because IR touchscreens use IR light to detect touch commands rather than measuring capacitance.

#5) Supports Different Displays

IR touchscreens aren’t limited to any single type of display. They support different types of displays. Some IR touchscreens feature an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display, whereas others feature a liquid-crystal display (LCD). LCDs displays are the most common. They are inexpensive, energy efficient and support low-profile designs.