Along with capacitive, resistive is one of the leading forms of touchscreen technology on the market. It works by featuring multiple layers that are separated by air or inert gas. When you press the display interface of a resistive device, you’ll force the top layer into an underlying bottom layer, thus allowing the device to detect the precise location of your touch command. Resistive touchscreens work in a relatively simple manner, but their functionality relies on the use of multiple layers. So, what are the different layers used in resistive touchscreens exactly?
Resistive touchscreens are typically manufactured with either matrix or analog layers. Matrix layers are characterized by the presence of electrodes arranged in rows on a transparent substrate, such as plastic or glass. In a typical resistive touchscreen, two matrix layers are placed facing each other so that when the display interface is touched, the electrodes make contact. Regardless of where you touch, the electrodes on the two matrix layers will press together, thus allowing the device to identify your touch command.
In addition to matrix layers, some resistive touchscreens are made with analog layers. Analog layers are pretty much the same as matrix layers but with one major difference: They don’t feature any patters facing teach other. Analog layers still contain transparent electrodes — just like matrix layers — but the electrodes aren’t arranged to face the electrodes of the opposite analog layer.
What About Capacitive Touchscreens?
Capacitive touchscreens also feature multiple layers, but they work in a complete different manner than resistive touchscreens. If you keep up with our blog here at Nelson-Miller, you probably know how capacitive touchscreens work already. They emit a uniform electrostatic charge across a conductive top layer while simultaneously measuring this capacitance for a drop in voltage. If you touch the display interface, your finger — or a capacitive stylus — will absorb some of the electrostatic charge, which the capacitive touchscreens uses to detect your touch command.
To recap, all resistive touchscreens are designed to detect touch commands using pressure, but the way in which they are designed varies. Resistive touchscreens are generally made with either matrix or analog layers. The former is characterized by a patterned electrodes facing the opposite layer, whereas the latter is characterized by non-patterned electrodes. It’s a subtle nuance that has minimal impact on the functionality and performance of a resistive touchscreen.