When researching the various touchscreen technologies, you may discover projected capacitive touch (PCT). Also known PCAP, it’s one of the most popular touchscreen technologies on the market. From smartphones and tablets to point-of-sale (POS) systems and human machine interfaces (HMIs), countless touchscreen devices use PCT technology. What is a PCT touchscreen, and how does it differ from other capacitive-powered touchscreens?

What Is a PCT Touchscreen?

A PCT touchscreen is a type of capacitive touchscreen device that uses intelligent processing to detect touch commands. Like all capacitive touchscreen devices, it relies on the human body’s conductive properties to detect touch commands. Electricity can flow through our bodies with relative ease. Therefore, touching a capacitive touchscreen will draw some of its electrostatic charge to your finger.

PCT touchscreens are distinguished from other types of capacitive touchscreens by their use of artificial processing. With artificial processing, they support a greater number of touch points, allowing PCT touchscreens to detect the exact location of a touch command.

How PCT Touchscreens Work

PCT touchscreens work by measuring capacitance. They create a uniform field of electricity than changes in response to a touch command. When you touch the screen, your finger will absorb some of the electrostatic charge. The PCT touchscreen will quickly collect and process this information, using it to determine where you touched.

All capacitive touchscreens work using this same method of measuring capacitance. PCT touchscreens are slightly different, though, because they contain more conductive contacts. Most PCT touchscreens are designed with a grid of thousands of horizontal and vertical conductive contacts.

Benefits of PCT Touchscreens

When compared to other touchscreen devices, PCT touchscreens offer several meaningful benefits. For starters, they are more sensitive to touch commands than devices powered by other touchscreen technologies. You don’t have to press your finger hard against the screen. On the contrary, gently touching the screen — or even hovering your finger close over it — will trigger a touch command.

Not only are they are more sensitive to touch commands than other touchscreen devices, but PCT touchscreens are also more accurate. When you touch the screen, the PCT touchscreen will register your touch command in that exact location. Other touchscreen devices are less accurate, meaning they may register your touch command in a slightly different area.

It’s important to note that there are two types of PCT technology: mutual and self-capacitance. They both feature a grid of conductive contacts, but they use different mechanisms to detect touch commands.