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Touch Panels

Touch technology has gained rapid acceptance through the growth of smartphones and tablet devices. Even in many professional applications Graphical User Interfaces (GUI) and touch screens are replacing tactile switches and discrete displays. They are not suitable for every application but if you would like to consider touch technology, Jayco can help guide you to use the right technology for your product.

While there are many different touch technologies, the majority of applications rely on two basic sensing methods:

Capacitive Touch

In a capacitive touch panel one side of the panel is energized to create an electrostatic field. When a user touches the panel it results in a change in the electrostatic field that is detected by a controller to determine the location of touch.

The primary advantages of capacitive touch over other technologies is very light operation - essentially 0~10 grams of force required, and speed of detection resulting in very responsive operation. Capacitive touch panels, being made of glass, also have very good display resolution and clarity, and the glass surface is typically more scratch resistant than resistive screens.

However, because capacitive touch panels require the electrical impulses in a human body to change the electrostatic field, conventional capacitive panels cannot be used with gloves or a mechanical stylus. Projected capacitive touch panels can overcome this drawback while also providing multi-touch and gestural operation. However, tooling and development costs for projected capacitive screens can be many times that of surface capacitive panels, so they should only be used in applications that really need them.

Resistive Touch

Resistive touch panels rely on electrical contact between two opposing surfaces to close a circuit and detect touch - think of it as a transparent membrane switch. Resistive screens can be digital (with defined, discrete active areas), or analog with XY location determined by a controller that measures the voltage drop at point of touch.

The benefits of resistive technology are that any type of touch can be detected, making them more practical in many applications. Another advantage is that resistive touch screens can provide pinpoint accuracy when used with a stylus.

The downside of resistive touch  panels is lower light transmission than capacitive screens, higher operating force, and slower response time. However, these factors may not be important in many applications, especially when the lower cost of resistive technology is factored into the equation.

Call Jayco to help determine which touch technology is best for your application.

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