​Exploring the Diversity of Touch Panel Technologies​

Touch displays may be found in a variety of places, from our cellphones to grocery store self-service kiosks. It should come as no surprise that touchscreens come in a variety of shapes and sizes, given their numerous applications. Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, as well as being better suited to certain jobs. Touch panels, often known as touchscreens or touch monitors, are devices that allow users to manage computers by touching them directly. A user’s touch is sensed and translated into an instructive command that translates into visual function, thanks to internal sensors. When it comes to the technical side of things, touch panels are not as simple as they appear. Depending on their intrinsic designs, they can perceive and react to touch in a variety of ways. As a result, Resistive, Optical Imaging, Projected Capacitive, and Infrared touch panels are the most common you are likely to encounter. The tech you are likely most familiar with is capacitive touch, which is the type of touch panel used commonly on smart phones, tablets and now many laptop computers.

Resistive touch panels are a low-cost option that detects commands by applying pressure to the screen. Pressure sensitivity is often confined to single-point touch with a maximum screen size of twenty inches, which is sufficient for many applications. These include everything from styluses to fingers. Consequently, even if a water drop lands on the screen, resistive touch screens will continue to work if utilized appropriately. However, many people will discover that resistive touch panels are less durable than many use cases may require.

Furthermore, because of its dependency on single-point contact, this touch panel type is unable to perform multi-touch functions. Resistive touch panels are common in grocery self-service kiosks, where stylus-based signatures might be requested. Another common touch panel you might encounter is infrared panels.

In an infrared panel, touch is detected by disrupting the panel; this is done by placing a grid of infrared beams over it, which may be up to 150 inches long. Although infrared touch screens are long-lasting and multi-touch capable, direct sunlight can cause these displays to malfunction because sunlight can interfere with the infrared mesh that is used to capture where the display is being touched. Optical imaging technology can work around this limitation by changing the way in which the shadow is captured.

Optical imaging touch panels use infrared cameras and the disruption of light strips to detect touch. This may be accomplished with any input you choose, up to a maximum size of one hundred inches, ranging from gloves to bare hands and beyond. Overall, optical imaging touch panels are one of the most adaptable touch-based options available. The possibilities are virtually boundless, from durability to multi-touch and universal input opportunities. Yet the technology struggles to fit in a compact form factor, which makes it great for large screens such as touchscreen whiteboards or televisions; this size limitation makes Projected Capacitive touch the preferred technology for modern smartphones.

By way of their electrical-based touch detection, Projected Capacitive touch panels are known for their high precision and high-speed response times. What is more is that they possess multi-touch functionality and can be used within small, compact, yet expensive devices. Due to their underlying technology, it has proven challenging to scale up to larger sizes, making it ideal for use in smartwatches, mobile phones, and automotive dashboard applications.

Resistive, Optical Imaging, Projected Capacitive, and Infrared touch panel types may be found in a wide range of businesses and everyday life. With Focus LCDs’ product line being in displays sized 10.4” or smaller, the only touch panels technologies supported are capacitive and resistive touch panels. If you are unsure which option is best for your design, our experts are here to help you understand the best option.