The advent of touchscreen technology has revolutionized the way in which we control electronic devices. From smartphones and tablets to computer monitors, handheld video game consoles, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and more, countless electronic devices now support touch-based commands. With that said, you might be surprised to learn the following facts about touchscreen technology.
#1) 90% of All Touchscreens Are Projected Capacitance
There are over a half-dozen different types of touchscreen technologies, each of which uses a different mechanism to detect and register a user’s touch commands. Of all the different types, though, projected capacitance is by far the most common. Statistics show over 90% of all touchscreens are powered by projected capacitance technology.
#2) Multi-Touch Was Pioneered in the 1980s
Contrary to popular belief, the first-generation iPhone wasn’t the first touchscreen device to feature multi-touch technology. Multi-touch technology was actually invented in the early 1980s by researchers at the University of Toronto. Multi-touch technology, of course, allows a user to control a touchscreen device using two or more simultaneous points of contact.
#3) Touchscreens Weren’t Very Precise Until the 1990s
While touchscreen devices were around during the 1980s, they weren’t particularly precise back then. Rather, they suffered from failed and erroneous commands, thereby limiting their use in practical applications. It wasn’t until the 1990s when manufacturers were able to optimize their devices to provide a higher level of precision.
#4) Most Touchscreens Won’t Work With Gloves
You might be surprised to learn that most touchscreens won’t work with gloves. If you try to tap or touch an icon while wearing gloves, the device generally won’t register your command. This is because capacitive touchscreens — the most common type — rely on the human body’s conductive properties to detect touch commands. If you wear gloves, your fingers won’t absorb the device’s electrostatic charge, meaning the device won’t register your command.
#5) Touchscreens Feature a Top Glass Layer
Capacitive touchscreens are designed with a top layer made of thick glass. The use of glass makes them particularly sturdy — even more so than resistive touchscreen devices. More importantly, it allows for clearer and sharper images when compared to other types of touchscreen devices.
#6) There Are 2 Types of Projected Capacitance Touchscreens
There are actually two different types of projected capacitance touchscreens: mutual and self. Both types feature rows and columns of conductive traces. The difference, however, is that self-capacitance touchscreen devices are able to detect capacitive loads on each column or row electrode.