Electrical conductivity is a requirement for capacitive touchscreens. You can’t control a capacitive touchscreen using just any object. Rather, you can only control them using an electrically conductive object. Why is electrical conductivity needed for capacitive touchscreens exactly?

The Basics of Capacitive Touchscreens

To better understand why capacitive touchscreens require the use of an electrically conductive object, you must first understand how they work. Capacitive is the world’s leading touchscreen technology. It’s used in smartphones, tablets, monitors, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and other devices. By definition, a capacitive touchscreen is a device that supports touch-based commands through the measurement of capacitance.

Technical jargon aside, capacitive touchscreens produce a small electrical field during use. This electrical field runs across the display interface. While producing this electrical field, capacitive touchscreens simultaneously measure it. Any distortion in the electrical field will be detected as a touch command.

How Conductivity Triggers Touch Commands

To control a capacitive touchscreen, you must use an electrically conductive object. Fortunately, the human body is considered conductive. You can perform touch commands by tapping the display interface with a bare finger. If the capacitive touchscreens support multi-touch commands, you can use multiple fingers to control them as well.

In capacitive touchscreens, electrical conductivity is needed because it changes the electrical field. Conductivity refers to the ease at which electricity can flow through an object. Objects that are electrically conductive offer an ideal path for electricity. When you touch a capacitive touchscreen with a conductive object, such as a bare finger, the object will absorb some of the device’s electrical field. The capacitive touchscreen will then identify this change as a touch event.

Why Capacitive Touchscreens Are Popular

While they require electrical conductivity, capacitive touchscreens are popular for many reasons. For starters, they provide excellent image clarity when compared to other touchscreens. Capacitive touchscreens are designed with a top glass layer. Because of its highly clear and transparent properties, this glass layer promotes clearer images than that of other types of touchscreens, including resistive touchscreens.

Capacitive touchscreens are also better protected against premature wear and tear than their resistive counterparts. There are no mechanical parts in a capacitive touchscreen. When you perform a touch command, you won’t be inadvertently down the capacitive touchscreen or any of its components. As a result, most capacitive touchscreens have a longer lifespan than resistive and other touchscreens.