Touchscreen technology can be confusing. While most people know how to use touchscreens, they are often unfamiliar with certain terms. In this post, you’ll find of glossary of terms involving touchscreen technology.


Oleophobic refers to the invisible, oil-repelling layer on the surface of a touchscreen’s display interface. Most touchscreens have an oleophobic coating. It’s used to repel oils, including body oils, so that fingerprints are less likely to appear.


Multitouch is a technology that allows touchscreens to detect and respond to multiple, simultaneous touch events. Smartphones and tablets typically feature multitouch technology. You can perform multitouch commands by placing two or more fingers against the display interface.


Capacitive is the most popular touchscreen technology. Capacitive touchscreens are designed to detect touch commands by measuring electricity. When turned on, they produce an electrostatic field across the display interface. A touch event will change this electrostatic field, thus allowing the capacitive touchscreen to identify your touch command.

Touchscreen Controller

Touchscreens have many different pieces of hardware, one of which is a controller. The controller is a hardware component that’s responsible for converting analog touch events into digital touch events. All touchscreens have a computer. For the computer to read and respond to a touch event, the controller must convert it into a digital signal.


In addition to capacitive, resistive is another technology used to power touchscreens. It ranks as the second-most popular touchscreen technology. Resistive touchscreens don’t use electricity to detect commands. Rather, they use pressure. Resistive touchscreens feature two layers that are separated by air. When you perform a touch command, the two layers will make contact so that the resistive touchscreen can identify your command.


You may encounter surface acoustic wave (SAW) when researching touchscreens. SAW is a relatively new touchscreen technology. It works by projecting sound waves over the interface. While projecting these sound waves, SAW touchscreens have sensors around the edges to measure them. Performing a touch command will disrupt the sound waves, thereby allowing the SAW touchscreen to pinpoint where and when the touch event occurred.


Backlighting is the illumination hardware a touchscreen contains. Whether it’s capacitive, resistive or SAW, all touchscreens have a display. A display is part of a touchscreen’s interface. Backlighting is a component within the display that’s used to produce illumination. Most touchscreens use light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting. They have LED bulbs that illuminate the display.