Capacitive Touchscreens: How They Work and the Benefits They Offer

Jun 28, 2021

Capacitive touchscreens are found just about everywhere. Research, in fact, shows that over 90% of all touchscreen devices produced and sold globally now use capacitive technology. Smartphones, tablets, human machine interfaces (HMIs), point-of-sale (POS) systems, monitors and many other touchscreen devices now use capacitive technology. What are capacitive touchscreens exactly, and what benefits do they offer?

What Are Capacitive Touchscreens?

Capacitive touchscreens are touch-controlled electronic devices that detect touch commands by measuring an electrical charge. When turned on, they’ll emit an electrical charge that runs across the top layer of the interface. It won’t necessarily shock you. Rather, the electrical charge is small enough so that it doesn’t cause any noticeable shock. Nonetheless, capacitive touchscreens use this electrical charge to detect commands.

Performing a touch command on a capacitive touchscreen will change its electrical charge. Assuming you perform a touch command with a conductive object, such as a bare finger, the electrical current will change. Conductive objects are those through which electricity can easily flow. Upon placing a conductive object against the interface, some of the capacitive touchscreen’s electrical charge will travel to that object. The capacitive touchscreen will then register this change as a touch command.

Benefits of Capacitive Touchscreens

When compared to other types of touchscreen devices, capacitive touchscreens typically last longer. They don’t contain moving parts. Rather, capacitive touchscreens have a non-mechanical method of operation. You just need to place a conductive object against the interface, which should trigger a touch command. Since they don’t have moving parts, capacitive touchscreens are better protected against premature wear and tear.

Many capacitive touchscreens support multi-touch commands. Multi-touch commands are those that involve two or more points of contact at the same time. You can find multi-touch commands supported by many capacitive touchscreens. Mutual capacitive touchscreens, for example, support both traditional touch commands as well as multi-touch commands.

Another benefit of capacitive touchscreens is their high level of sensitivity. They are more sensitive to touch commands than other types of touchscreen devices. You don’t have to press against the interface using extreme pressure or force. On the contrary, hovering your finger directly over the interface is typically all it takes to trigger a touch command.

In addition to being sensitive, capacitive touchscreens are also accurate. Projected capacitive touchscreens are particularly accurate. They can pinpoint the exact location of touch commands to provide a higher level of accuracy than that of other types of touchscreen devices.

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