What is a capacitive touch panel?
Have you ever thought about using capacitive touch panel in today’s society? Well, I have! The fact that it’s been around since the 1970s has only recently caught on with smartphone activity. Capacitive sensors are at the forefront of many touch technologies on the market today and continue to grow. As a kid, I wondered how phones work! Car run! The plane flies! When I understand the driving force behind these things, I realize the fact that embedded microprocessors, and controllers make it all possible. At the heart of capacitive touch, the controller continuously scans and monitors the capacitance of the electrodes to provide the best output.
Capacitive touchscreens are responsive because they don’t require any pressure to register a touch. Even the slightest touch activates the screen. Capacitive touchscreens can use glass as the front panel, which makes them extremely durable, easy to clean and scratch resistant.Opting for a capacitive touch panel is better than resistive, which is more sensitive and activates the screen with a slight touch. Resistive cannot support multi-touch gestures, has poor visibility in direct sunlight, and is less durable.
1.1 Touch Sensor
A touch screen sensor is a clear glass panel with a touch responsive surface. The touch sensor/panel is placed over a display screen so that the responsive area of the panel covers the viewable area of the video screen. There are several different touch sensor technologies on the market today, each using a different method to detect touch input. The sensor generally has an electrical current or signal going through it and touching the screen causes a voltage or signal change. This change is used to determine the location of the touch to the screen.
The controller is a small PC card that connects between the touch sensor and the PC. It takes information from the touch sensor and translates it into information that PC can understand. The controller is usually installed inside the monitor for integrated monitors or it is housed in a plastic case for external touch add-ons/ overlays. The controller determines what type of interface/connection you will need on the PC. Integrated touch monitors will have an extra cable connection on the back for the touch screen. Controllers are available that can connect to a Serial/COM port (PC) or to a USB port (PC or Macintosh). Specialized controllers are also available that work with DVD players and other devices.
1.3 Software Driver
The driver is a software update for the PC system that allows the touch screen and computer to work together. It tells the computer’s operating system how to interpret the touch event information that is sent from the controller. Most touch screen drivers today are a mouse-emulation type driver. This makes touching the screen the same as clicking your mouse at the same location on the screen. This allows the touch screen to work with existing software and allows new applications to be developed without the need for touch screen specific programming. Some equipment such as thin client terminals, DVD players, and specialized computer systems either do not use software drivers or they have their own built-in touchscreen driver.
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