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What is Touch Screen?
The display device which allows the users to interact with a computer by using their finger or stylus is known as Touch Screen. Actually, touch screens eliminate the need to use a mouse or a keyboard.
This has proved to be the most effective alternative to those traditional input devices for searching graphical user interface.
- Just like voice commands, the touch screen is also one of the most useful and innovative additions.
- Touch screens can be very useful as an alternative to mouse or keyboard enabling much faster navigation.
- There are different types of touch screens available and each of them has different utility and functionality.
- Touch screens are used extensively in several areas since it is easy to use, offers comfort, faster access and security, though all of it comes at a cost.
Understanding Touch Screen in Computer
Touch screen is the specific display that you will find in most modern computers, mobile phones and even in TVs.
According to the definition of Touch Screen, it is an additional layer on top of an electronic visual display.
It can exist on any information processing system, both input and output devices. However, this feature is normally found in either:
- Laptop displays
- Cash registers and
- Information kiosks.
The most advanced touch screens these days use a set of infrared beams to sense the presence of a finger instead of a touch sensitive input.
As for the personal computers, there are a few specific brands and models that support touch screen features.
The major computer manufacturers that design products with touch screen support are:
- Lenovo, and, of course
Since the touch screen feature installation is complex and makes a system more expensive, all makes and models of desktop and laptop computers do not have this feature installed in them.
Touch screen is also called an input device because it receives and carries the command input from the user who is operating the system to the particular internal component.
As of now, the touch screen feature can only detect inputs when a finger or a stylus is directly in contact with the grid on the screen.
However, there are a few apps and web pages that are trying to implement the hover feature.
The manufacturers of the computer systems took the decision to use touch screen in their devices because:
- It is intuitive, innovative and attractive, especially to the new generation and also
- It helps in designing a much smaller device that can be operated with only one touch screen instead of several buttons.
The cost factor is also a crucial aspect, but that, however, is debatable.
There are different ways to use the touch screen feature and send the necessary commands. These are:
- Single tap – Touching or tapping on the screen once with the finger will help you in selecting a particular icon, app or any other item.
- Double tap – This has various functions depending on where it is used. For example, in a browser, you can zoom the screen to have a clearer view by double tapping on the item. It is also helpful for selecting a word or words that you need to use in a text editor.
- Touch and Hold – This is an option where you tap on the screen, press and hold it to select or highlight that particular object.
- Drag – You can also use it to drag a file or an icon from one location on the screen to another, easily and quickly. Same way, it will enable you to highlight a text. Once it is done, simply lift the finger.
- Swipe – This is a very useful way to scroll through the page in a particular direction. You can also use this to change pages. All you have to do is swipe your finger across the screen. For example, if you are pressing the finger at the bottom of the screen and quickly swipe it up, it will scroll the screen in the desired direction.
- Pinch – Strange as it may sound, this is when you place two fingers on the screen in different spots and bring them close together, as if you are pinching it. You can either pinch in by bringing the fingers close together or pinch out by moving them away from each other. This is the feature that helps in either zooming in or zooming out a particular image.
All these ways make operation of the system and navigation much easier which is why the touch screen feature is now available in most of the modern computers.
When you use touch screen devices, you can input commands easily through one or multiple indications by touching the screen.
You can do it with the special stylus that comes with the device or simply by using one or more fingers.
However, there are a few special types of touch screen displays that use specially coated gloves to work on, instead of using a stylus or finger.
The touch screen plays a very important role in designing the modern digital appliances, especially for the e-readers and personal digital assistants.
Its role is also very crucial in the educational institutions, especially in the smart classes of different schools and colleges.
Touch screen ensures a faster and better interaction by the user with the content of the display.
This helps in controlling the information processing system as well.
A user simply has to input the command and wait for the touch screen to send it to the designated software, which accepts the commands and directs the result back to the display of the computer system.
The best part of a touch screen display is that it helps the user to coordinate directly with what is displayed, and, for that, they do not need to go through the hassle of using a mouse, touchpad or any other input device.
It is the high level of performance of the touch screen technology that this feature is widely accepted nowadays by the users.
It helps them to operate the information applications, smartphones, and tablets easily as well as enhance the functionality of the devices at the same time.
The touch screen is, in fact, a controller-based firmware which is made available by the system integrators. This is not the forte of the chips, display, or motherboard manufacturers.
The integrators use it as a user interface component and consider touch screens to be the most fundamental design for any modern computer.
Check out this article to know the touch screen types, uses, pros and cons.
Types of Touch Screens
There are different types of touch screens that use different unique technologies to allow the users to interact with the interface.
Some functions only by the touch of the finger, while others might work with other tools like the stylus. Here are the different types of touch screens, in detail, for your knowledge:
- Resistive Touch Screens
This touch screen is used mostly now-a-days. This touch screen monitor is made up of glass panels and a film screen. Each of them is covered by a thin metallic layer.
This layer is separated by a narrow gap. This layer can detect the pressure of the finger of the users or any other object. This is because this layer is electrically conductive.
When the user touches the screen, the two metallic layers come in contact and result in an electrical flow. This is due to alteration in the voltage.
It is more acceptable because it gives a tactile feel. Apart from that, it is also the cheapest touch screen technology. It consumes low power and is resistant to dust, grease, oil, moisture et cetera.
- Surface Capacitive Touch Screen
The monitor of this type of touch technology has a transparent electrode layer placed on the top of the glass panel. This is covered by an additional protective cover.
It is coated with a special material that stores an electrical charge. This charge is monitored by the internal circuits from each corner of the screen.
When a user touches the screen, it reacts with the static electrical energy of the human body. Small amount of electrical charge is created and drawn from that point of contact to indicate where it was touched.
For using the capacitive screen, the user has to use bare fingers or a special stylus. This technology is mostly used in smartphones.
However, there are specially designed gloves that allow the user to use one or more fingers to do the interactions with the capacitive screen.
The decrease in capacitance is detected by sensors present at four corners which allows us to determine the touch point.
- Projected Capacitive Touch Screen
This is similar to the surface capacitive touch screen technology but has two significant advantages.
Firstly, along with the bare finger it can sense the finger of the users wearing surgical gloves or thin cotton gloves.
Secondly, it can also help in multi-touch activation. This touch screen technology is composed of a sheet of glass with an embedded transparent electrode film along with an IC chip.
This helps in creating a three-dimensional electrostatic field. When the finger is in contact with the screen, the electrical current ratio changes. This helps the computer to detect the touch points.
- Surface Acoustic Wave
Commonly known as SAW in computer terminology, this type of touch screen feature sends ultrasonic waves.
This is detected only when the screen is touched by registering changes in the waves.
Though this technology is more advanced than the other touch screen technologies, it does not work with some materials.
Also, the ultrasonic wave pulse is not absorbed easily. This can affect the external elements.
Finally, the Infrared touch screens are the common types of touch screens that use the infrared beams that are transmitted by the LEDs.
These beams have a photo-transistor at the receiving end. This infrared beam is blocked when you place your finger or the stylus on the display screen.
This hindrance helps the device to detect where exactly the finger or the stylus is placed.
Uses of Touch Screen
Touch screens are one of the most popular and favored input devices of today. This innovative and helpful feature is commonly used in:
- Commercial Offices
Touch screens are used in different ways in an office.
It includes swiping of IDs, putting thumbprints for getting access to office computers, digital attendance registers, and several other equipment that require the touch recognition and identification for the entry of data and performing different tasks.
- Media Houses
Here the touch screens are used extensively. It also helps different data centers that deal with different jobs such as weather forecasting and reporting.
During election, devices with touch screen facility are used to find the names of the states and numbers as well!
The media houses also use this feature to talk to a colleague present in a different location where a particular incident happened and needs reporting.
Touching on a particular screen makes it look like the outdoor correspondent and the in-studio newsreader are both in the same room.
- Seminars and board meetings
In different board meetings touch screens are often used. It is used to display several charts, figures and diagrams during public speaking.
This helps in highlighting specific points with ease and helps the people in the room to understand things easily.
This also saves a lot of time and hassles of using the keyboard or mouse, that may be impractical to use in specific circumstances.
- Automated Teller Machines
Most ATMs all over the world now use the touch screen feature for withdrawing money, paying utility bills, and even changing PIN and other personal details.
This makes operation much faster and easier. All transactions and dealing can be made quickly needing no paper work for the bank employees and no need to stand in long queues for the customers.
There are lots of kiosks in shopping malls, gas stations, restaurants, retail outlets and many more places that use touch screen displays for making payments and placing orders.
These computers make operations much easier with high accuracy rates with clear and intuitive visuals. The risks of making any mistake is literally eliminated.
This is the most common device that you will find today that comes with a touch screen facility. These displays give the users an easy way to navigate between apps, software and files.
They can even use this feature to dial a number, text a message, listen to music, or browse the web, all with a single touch of their finger.
- Nintendo DS
These are handheld video game systems which have two display screens.
The lower one uses a touch screen. Games can be played with the stylus to move the characters or objects while playing or to draw figures.
- Self-Check outs
All modern supermarkets use touch screens to save time for both the customers and cashiers.
Using these modern displays at the counters or at specific places, the customers can view the weights of the products, look up the product code, choose the method of payment as well.
- Air Planes
Touch screen feature has become an essential feature in all modern airplanes.
You will see several computers having touch screen features inside the cockpit of an airplane that provides clear and accurate display.
Apart from its use in the navigations system of an airplane, this feature is also used in the entertainment systems in front of the passengers.
Apart from these, the touch screen feature is also used commonly in car GPS, digital camcorders, cameras and many more.
The Advantages of Touch Screen
1. Easy to use
Users do not need extensive training to use the touch screen display in their computers.
The simple design and realistic features make it easy to use.
2. Popular option
This feature is most popular and commonly used because it is user friendly.
It comes with expanded functionality and at a low cost, compared with all other aspects and benefits provided.
3. Error free
The chances of making any error is minimized during operation whether it is for playing games, surfing the internet, making payments or placing an order online.
This is due to the easy and accurate selection from the well-defined menu.
4. Fast access
All you have to do is tap once, twice or swipe your finger on or across the screen to use this feature.
This helps in faster operation and access to the files, apps and web pages.
5. Size and space
Since the input device is integrated in the monitor, the touch screen display is smaller in size and takes less space.
This makes it less cumbersome to use because there is no keyboard or mouse connected to it.
With the touch recognition feature, using these devices are more secure. You will have different languages to select from to read the text.
Also, as per your need, you can even update and upgrade the interface by using a simple software.
The Disadvantages of It
7. Number of inputs
You cannot use this feature to input a large number of different data at a time.
This can be a bit of a problem especially if you are multitasking always.
Sometimes the time taken to process a command may be much more than the input given through the buttons.
This can be annoying for users who hate to wait, for even a second longer.
If you consider the cost of a keyboard and a mouse together with a standard display, it will be much lower than the cost of a touch screen display.
Therefore, if you are in a budget now, postpone such an upgrade.
Though not affordable by all, the touch screen display technology has taken the world of computers by storm.
Its features, and, most importantly, its usefulness makes it a better choice and an essential feature of the future.