Buyers Guide: Touch screens

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Touch screensTouch screens are computer display units that are sensitive to human touch. You can interact with the computer by touching pictures and words on the screen instead of inputting data using mouse or keyboards.



This is why they are popular amongst individuals who find it difficult to operate mouse and keyboards. Touch screens are basically connected to terminals, computers and networks and recently are also used in personal digital assistants, satellite navigation and in mobile phone devices.



Touch screens like the ELO 1515L and Nokia 5800 work with the help of a special software. It can be used for both left and double clicks and even dragging. This is because when you touch it, it’s similar to your moving your pointer to the spot and then clicking on the mouse button.



As touch screens are connected to the PC using a serial port or USB type connection, it is also possible to simultaneously use a mouse and keyboard with the touch screen. Depending on the type of touch screen, you can use a mouse or other pointing device on the touch screen. Touch screens can be used to browse the internet and to design custom programs and applications.



Types of touch screens


There are 5 types of touch screens based on its technology; resistive, capacitive, infrared, surface acoustic wave (SAW) and strain gauge. Though all technologies are suited for different applications, the resistive and capacitive touch screens are the most popular choices.



Resistive touch screens are once again divided into resistive 4, 5 and 8 wire technology. The resistive 4 wire touch screen is the better option for low cost applications while the resistive 8 wire touch screen is the best choice for applications requiring accuracy.



Capacitive touch screens are all-glass touch screens with double side transparent conductive coating that works with electrode patterns. Infrared screens are similar to resistive screens. However here, there is a chance of dirt, flies or other objects blocking the light emitting and receiving apertures.



Touch screen kits


Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) touch screens can be used wearing gloves as they don’t offer any hindrance to its operation or get affected by stray touches. As there are no overlays to diminish the image, SAW touch screens give you the brightest images.



All touch screen kits include a touch screen panel that is attached external to the monitor, software driver that translates touch events on the screen into mouse events and a controller that processes the signals while sending data to the processor.



Software drivers of touch screens can be used on both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. There are also internal touch screen kits available; however they have to be professionally installed in the monitor.



Input devices for touch screens


Depending on the type of touch screen, you can use your finger or other pointing devices on it. Resistive touch screens work well with anything like hand, pen, finger and pointing device as they are pressure sensitive.



However capacitive screens work only with finger input. SAW touch screens work with finger input and soft-tipped stylus. However you cannot expect the same response on these screens like a hard tipped pen.


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