Choosing a Touch Screen Display

By: Richard N Williams
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Touchscreens have been with us since the early 1970’s but it has only been in thelast few years that the technology has expanded into personal applications aswell as business.

Traditionallytouch screen displays were expensive and only to be found in industrialapplications but recent advances and falling cost of technology has meant thatthe touch screen display is now in everything from the mobile phone and pocketcomputer to ATM machines and information points.

Touchscreens work in one of a number of ways from using infrared to detect the heatof a finger to the more accurate resistive and capacitive touch screens thatuse an electrical field.

Touch screenshave an obvious advantage over conventional monitors in that using a graphicaluser interface (GUI) and touch screen means that the display can act as both aninput and output device so there is no need for a separate keyboard and mouseand their associated wires.

Inselecting a touch screen display several questions need to be asked - ?what tasks will the display be used for, howclear does the monitor need to be, what environment will it be placed in andhow responsive does it need to be?

In anindustrial environment where the display may have to endure contaminants suchas grease, dirt and dust or suffer the risk of getting wet then a sealed capacitivetouch screen would be the best option. These are very durable and rugged andmany of are manufactured for water and dust resistance (IP56 and IP65).

When more clarity is required from the screen(most touch screens have less illumination than conventional monitors) such asfor surgical or medical use then surface wave panel-based touch screen is thebetter option. These use ultrasound to identify when they are touched and can easilybe damaged but they offer better clarity and optical accuracy than othersystems.

If a touchscreen display is to be left in a public area, unattended or outside then thesimplest form of touch screen, the strain gauge, where the screen is springmounted on the four corners and the movement is measured when the screen istouchedFree Web Content, is by far the most durable touch screen display. While they are not asresponsive as other types of touch screen they are often used when there is arisk of vandalism.

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