Capacitive is one of the leading touchscreen technologies on the market. Not to be confused with resistive, it’s used to power smartphones, tablets, human human interfaces (HMIs) and countless other touchscreen devices. Today, we’re going to explore six facts about capacitive touchscreens and how they work.

#1) They Are Highly Sensitive

You don’t have to press down very hard — or at all — on a capacitive device for it to register your touch command. This is because capacitive touchscreens identify touch commands by measuring changes in capacitance. Just hovering your finger slightly over the display interface of a capacitive device should trigger a touch command.

#2) There are 2 Types of Capacitive Tech

Unbeknownst to many people, there are actually two types of capacitive touchscreen technology: surface and projected. While both types identify touch commands by measuring changes in capacitance, there are subtle nuances between them Projected capacitance, also known as a PCAP or PCT, is able to detect touch commands with greater sensitivity than its surface capacitance counterpart.

#3) The Top Layer Is Conductive

A typical capacitive touchscreen device is designed with an insulator panel — usually glass — that’s coated in a conductive material like indium tin oxide (ITO). The purpose of this conductive layer is to allow the user’s finger to absorb some of the device’s electrostatic field when he or she touches it. Without this conductive layer, the device wouldn’t be able to detect touch commands.

#4) They Don’t Work With Most Styluses

It’s important to note that most capacitive touchscreens don’t work with most styluses. To use a stylus with a capacitive touchscreen, you must choose a capacitive stylus. Only capacitive styluses are able to work with capacitive touchscreens because they conductive a conductive tip that’s able to absorb the device’s electrostatic field.

#5) They Last Longer Than Resistive Touchscreens

Although there are exceptions, capacitive touchscreens usually last longer than resistive. This is due to the fact that capacitive touchscreens don’t contain moving parts, whereas resistive touchscreens use pressure — the pressing together of two layers — to identify to commands. It’s not uncommon for capacitive touchscreens to last for hundreds of thousands of touches.

#6) They Are Highly Accurate

Capacitive touchscreens are highly accurate, meaning they’ll identify the precise location of your touch command. This is a huge advantage for commercial touchscreen applications, such as HMIs in a manufacturing factory or workplace. The acute sensing properties of capacitive touchscreens is just one more reason for businesses to choose them.