Resistive and capacitive have become the industry standard for touchscreen devices. Both technologies are able to create fully functional touchscreen devices. Resistive touchscreen devices feature multiple layers that are separated by an inert layer or gas or air. When you press down on the interface, it forces the layers to make contact so that the device is able to identify the local of your touch. Capacitive touchscreen devices, on the other hand, feature a uniform electrostatic field that changes capacitance when touched. Touching the interface of a capacitive device causes your finger to absorb some of its electricity, allowing the device to determine the point of contact. But there’s another type of touchscreen technology that’s becoming more and more popular: surface acoustic wave (SAW).

What Is SAW Touchscreen Technology?

SAW is a relatively new form of touchscreen technology that operates using the principles of piezoelectricity. Basically, SAW touchscreen devices feature a series of ultrasonic wave transmitters and corresponding receivers or sensors. Both types of components are installed around the edge of the device, with the transmitters emitting ultrasonic waves across the surface of the device. When you touch the interface, the ultrasonic waves are blocked. The receivers or sensors are then able to determine where this blockage occurred so that they can respond with the appropriate touch command.

Benefits of SAW

There are several benefits of using SAW touchscreen technology. First, SAW devices support both bare fingers as well as gloved fingers. This alone is a huge benefit considering that winter is right around the corner. With capacitive touchscreen devices, you can only use your bare finger because of the way in which they operate. Attempting to control is a capacitive touchscreen device with a gloves finger doesn’t work, a glove prevents the flow of electricity from the device to your body. SAW touchscreen devices don’t identify touch commands by measuring change in capacitance, however. They identify touch by looking for disruptions in ultrasonic waves, so they support bare fingers, gloved fingers and even a stylus.

SAW touchscreen devices also have a long lifespan. Resistive touchscreen devices have a tendency to degrade over time. This doesn’t happen overnight, but years of continuous use can cause certain components of a resistive touchscreen device to fail. SAW touchscreen devices, however, last an incredibly long time due to their design. For companies and manufacturers searching for a valuable touchscreen solution, this makes SAW an excellent choice.