Touch screens: operation
Not even 3 decades ago, touch screens were only present in science fiction movies. We never imagined that they would take such a big place in the daily lives of individuals and professionals. Yes, they are everywhere.
A little step back in time
In 1965, Eric Johnson created the very first digitally controlled screen. Pretty basic, it could only handle one touchpoint at a time. Admittedly, it was used mainly by British air traffic controllers until the 90s. It only gained popularity from the 70s, when the resistive touch screen was invented by G. Samuel Hurst and his team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developing the idea of an electrically conductive paper for their research. They eventually created the very first touchscreen computer. Thanks to the latter, tasks requiring several days of work could be accomplished in just a few hours. Afterwards, the researchers exploited this new technology. In particular, those in Toronto who were able to invent the multipoint digital screen in the 80s. Then came the first touch screen phones in the 90s. From there came a series of improvements made by scientists, before lead to our current devices which are now more efficient.
How do they work?
There are more than half a dozen approaches to operating a touchscreen, but the most familiar are resistive and capacitive.
The first, the resistive is the simplest and the most used. Simply press the screen to conduct the current between the so-called "conductive" layer and the "resistive" layer so that the software in the device performs the corresponding action at the pressed place. The information displayed by this technology is quite reliable and durable, but quite difficult to read due to the multiple layers. The brighter the brightness, the less you can see what is written there. Thus, they can only manage one touchpoint at a time. This is the technology used by ATMs, fruit and vegetable weighing machines, TPEs (Electronic Payment Terminals), etc.
The second is the capacitive screen. Unlike the first, it hardly requires strong support to interact. It changes electric current upon contact with anything that has an electric charge, in other words the skin composed of positively and negatively charged atoms. It is created from copper oxide or indium tin oxide, materials that hold electrical charges in wires much thinner than a hair. It is the technology present in mobile phones that allows you to change the alarm clock, scroll through the news feed or the playlist, etc.
So, thanks to decades of research and development, we can enjoy touch screens in our daily lives. The new touch screens used on the latest generation touch terminals such as the POS Broker: touch terminal are more practical and intuitive than conventional screens and offer a variety of possibilities. They are present in most electronic devices today and are therefore an integral part of our modern life.