Touchscreens have become increasingly popular over the past few decades. They are characterized by the use of a touch-based interface. You can touch or tap the interface to perform commands.

Some touchscreens use capacitive technology to detect touch commands, whereas others use resistive or surface acoustic wave (SAW). Regardless, they can all detect touch commands. It’s a common misconception, however, that all touchscreens require a controller. Many touchscreens do, in fact, require a controller, but others do not

What Is a Controller?

A controller is a device that connects a touchscreen’s sensor to its computer. If a touchscreen has a built-in computer, it will typically feature a controller. Smartphones and tablets, for instance, require a controller. The sensor will detect touch commands, whereas the controller will send this information to the device’s computer for processing.

Not All Touchscreens Require a Controller

Contrary to popular belief, not all touchscreens require a controller. There are many different types of touchscreens. Capacitive touchscreens work by measuring changes in capacitance. Resisitve touchscreens work by relying on pressure to complete a circuit. SAW touchscreens work by looking for disruptions in acoustic waves on the surface. But not all touchscreens require a controller.

Some of the simplest touchscreens on the market don’t require a controller. The term “touchscreen” can refer to any device with a touch-based interface. When most people think of touchscreens, they envision smartphones and tablets. Touchscreens, however, can include dozens of other types of devices with a touch-based interface, such as capacitive switches.

Simple touchscreens may not feature an integrated computer. And without a computer, they don’t require a controller. They can detect touch commands via a sensor, and they can immediately respond to them without relaying this information to a computer for processing.

Should You Choose a Touchscreen With a Controller

If you’re looking for a traditional touchscreen with an integrated computer, you’ll probably need to choose one with a controller. The controller works in conjunction with the computer to respond to touch commands.

For simple touchscreen applications, such as capacitive switches, a controller isn’t necessary. Capacitive switches and other simple touchscreens can respond to touch commands without the use of a controller.

In Conclusion

While some touchscreens require a controller, others do not. You can find simple, low-cost touchscreens that don’t feature a controller. They still have a touch-based interface, and you can still control them by touching or tapping this interface. Simple touchscreens, though, don’t feature a controller.