Touchscreens have taken over the world in recent years. Most of us interact with a touchscreen of some sort on a daily basis, whether through operating our smartphones or withdrawing money from an ATM. But these screens are also used in many industries for a wide range of tasks.
There are two main types of touchscreen technologies in use today. You may not realize when you use a touchscreen, but it is probably either a capacitive or resistive screen.
But what are the differences between these two types of touchscreen technologies, and how are they used by various industries? Here’s a guide to what you need to know.
What Are Capacitive Touchscreens?
Capacitive touchscreens are touchscreen panels that have an insulator that is coated with a conductor. As the human body is also a conductor, when you touch the screen, the electrostatic field is distorted, as described here. The disruption is processed by the controller, which then carries out the desired action at the exact location where you touched the screen.
Benefits of Capacitive Screens
Capacitive touchscreens are very sensitive to human touch, and they are also very accurate. They are superior to resistive touchscreens when it comes to multi-touch gestures. They also have a very high clarity, and they are generally highly durable.
The only real downside of capacitive screens is that they can be expensive when used in larger screens, although they are becoming more competitive. And they are also not suitable for use with devices like styluses and operation by gloved hands.
How Are They Used?
Because of their superiority with multi-touch gestures and their durability, capacitive screens are often the preferred choice for tablet computers and smartphones like the iPhone. Users can interact much more accurately with their devices with capacitive screens, making them the most popular option.
However, they are also widely used in many industries for a variety of purposes. For example, they are used in digital signage solutions, ATMs, and kiosk systems because they are more accurate. Because of this accuracy, they are especially popular for anything involving transactions with a consumer.
These are used by companies like CKS Global for touchscreens for use in industry, especially when they are sealed to be waterproof and dustproof. This makes them ideal for use in harsher environments where a high degree of accuracy is still essential.
What Are Resistive Touchscreens?
Resistive touchscreens allow the user to operate the screen with their fingers or other tools like a stylus, or while wearing gloves. They are mainly used for single-finger use rather than multi-touch gestures, and they tend to be more basic than capacitive screens.
They consist of two sheets that are transparent and contain a gap between them. The sheets have a conducting material. When the top sheet is pressed down, it touches the second sheet, and this conducts electricity. The controller processes the contact and performs the action at the location where the touch occurred.
Benefits of Resistive Screens
Resistive touchscreens are typically cheaper than capacitive screens, making them a popular option where multi-gesture controls are not necessary. The technology is also more popular where larger screens are required because of the high costs of using capacitive screens in such situations.
The other major benefit of resistive touchscreens is that they can be used by people wearing gloves, as well as with tools like styluses.
How Are They Used?
Resistive touchscreens are found in a wide range of consumer items like GPS units, digital cameras, simpler feature phones, and printers. These devices require less-complex touch gestures to operate, so the cheaper resistive screens are ideal.
They are also used in many industrial settings because of the fact that they can be used with gloves and styluses. This makes them ideal for use in medical settings, factories, and areas where food is produced.
Two Types of Touchscreens with Very Different Uses
Both resistive and capacitive touchscreens have their uses in consumer products and in industrial settings. While resistive screens are cheaper to produce and can be used with gloves, capacitive screens provide greater accuracy and clarity. How they are used depends on the requirements for the touchscreen in its specific setting.
If you require a touchscreen for a specific purpose, it is always worth looking at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of technology to help you decide which is the best option for your needs. Speak to a specialist touchscreen provider to get their recommendations, then choose the technology that is best for you.
Anthony Sharp is a techy guy who runs a part-time computer repair and tech support business from his home. His tech-related articles appear online at gadget/tech blogs as well as consumer/lifestyle blogs.