Multi-Touch and dual-touch are two common features in touchscreens. For over a decades, manufacturers have included them in their respective touchscreens. You can now find multi-touch and dual-touch in countless types of touchscreens, including capacitive, resistive, surface acoustic wave (SAW) and infrared (IR) grid. Multi-touch and dual-touch aren’t the same, however. They are two unique touchscreen features that offer different forms of functionality.

What Is Multi-Touch?

Multi-touch is a feature that allows a touchscreen to recognize two or more points of simultaneous contact as a touch event. Touch events, of course, are commands. You can control a touchscreen by tapping its display interface with your fingers. Each of these touch commands is a touch event. With multi-touch, the touchscreen will be able to recognize two or more points of contact at the same time as a touch event.

Most smartphones and tablets have multi-touch. A common example is pinch-to-zoom. On a smartphone or tablet, you can pinch the interface to zoom in or zoom out. Since pinching is performed with two fingers at the same time, it’s considered a multi-touch command. There are other multi-touch commands available. Regardless, they all use two or more points of contact at the same time.

What Is Dual-Touch?

Dual-touch, on the other hand, is a defined by the use of two interfaces on the same device. As you may know, most touchscreens only have a single interface, which consists of a display device with an embedded touchscreen. This interface serves as both the display and the touchscreen. Dual-touch devices use an alternative design. Rather than a single interface, they contain two interfaces.

Dual-touch has been around since 2004, during which the manufacturer V12 Design made a prototype for a dual-touch laptop. Since then, other dual-touch devices have emerged. You can now find other laptops as well as human machine interfaces (HMIs), portable video gaming consoles and more with dual-touch.

Differences Between Multi-Touch and Dual-Touch

Multi-touch and dual-touch are completely different technologies. Multi-touch lives up to its namesake by supporting multiple touch commands at the same time, whereas dual-touch is essentially the use of two separate interfaces on the same device.

Of those two technologies, multi-touch is the most common. There are more touchscreen devices that support multi-touch than dual-touch. Most types of touchscreens, in fact, are designed with multi-touch technology. In comparison, there are far fewer touchscreens that are designed with dual-touch.