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Sunday, 14 August 2011

How Touchscreens Work - The Most Basic Explanation

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Touchscreens are available in almost all modern gadgets like smartphones, mp3 players, ipads,etc. But have you ever wondered how these amazing things change your touch into action on screen? well, lets check it out.

There are four types of touchscreens widely used today, they are capacitive,resistive,infrared and optical. In the resistive type, the screen is made of two basic layers capable of conducting electricity and separated by a very small gap. The outer layer is flexible while the inner layer is fixed. A small charge of current keeps on moving through the layers When a person presses lightly on the outer layer, it moves in and touches the inner layer. This causes a change in the conduction of current and is detected by a controller.

In the capacitive type, there is again two layers, but this time only the inner one is conductive while the other is an insulator. When you use your finger or a suitable stylus to work on the screen, the static electricity from your finger/stylus makes a change in the capacitance at that particular point. This gets sensed by the controller and the location is calculated.

In the infrared type, special l.e.d lights and corresponding light detectors are placed around the screen. They are placed in a pattern that forms checkered boxes of light on the screen (like a normal x-y graph). When a finger touches the screen, the controller calculates which point in the light graph has an intruder.

In the optical type, there are sensors that work like cameras, on the edges of the screen. They take optical images and identify the size and depth of the object touching, along with the location of touching. This helps the controller to know where we have kept our finger.

Hope you understood the basics of the touchscreen :-)
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