Controllers play an essential role in the function of touchscreen devices. Whether it’s a capacitive, resistive, surface wave acoustic (SAW) device, all types of touchscreen devices use controllers to perform their operations. But what is exactly is a touchscreen controller, and why are they important for touchscreen devices?

Overview of Touchscreen Controllers

A touchscreen controller is a circuit (or multiple circuits) that connects the touchscreen sensor to the touchscreen device itself. In other words, it receives data from the sensor, which it translates into the touchscreen’s device’s operating system or software.

When you perform a touch command on a smartphone, tablet computer or any other touchscreen device, the controller will receive your touch command and relay this information to the operating system or software. As a result, the controller is largely responsible for translating touch commands into the appropriate action. If you tap an icon, for example, the touchscreen controller tells the device to open or execute the app. If you pinch the screen with two fingers, the controller tells the device to zoom in or zoom out, depending on the direction in which you pinched it.

Overview of Touchscreen Sensors

A touchscreen sensor, on the other hand, is a panel used in touchscreen devices that’s designed to identify the location of a user’s touch command. There are different types of touchscreen sensors, each of which works in a different way. However, they are all responsible for identifying when and where touch commands are performed.

Capacitive touchscreen devices are usually designed with printed circuit boards or traces as the sensor. When you perform a touch command on a capacitive device, your finger will absorb some of its electrical current. The sensor is able to detect touch commands such as this because of the change in electrical current (capacitance).

Resistive touchscreens also use sensors, but they are designed to detect touch commands using pressure rather than changes in capacitance. Resistive touchscreen devices contain multiple layers. When you perform a touch command, you’ll push the top layer into the bottom layer, allowing the sensor to identify the location of your touch.

In Conclusion

Along with software, touchscreen controllers and sensors play an important role in the function of touchscreen devices. A touchscreen sensor is essentially a layer that’s able to identify the location of a user’s touch command, whereas a touchscreen controller is one or more circuits that connects the controller to the touchscreen itself. Without a controller and sensor, touchscreen devices wouldn’t be able to identify or respond to touch commands.