The Science Behind Touchscreen Gloves

Mar 25, 2019

Touchscreen gloves are commonly used with smartphones, tablet computers, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and other touchscreen devices. They look and feel like regular gloves, but there’s one unique feature differentiating them from traditional gloves: They work with all touchscreen devices.

It’s no secret that regular gloves aren’t compatible with all touchscreen devices. If you own a capacitive smartphone, for example, you probably won’t be able to control it while wearing regular gloves. Touchscreen gloves differ in the sense that they can be worn while using a capacitive smartphone or device.

Capacitive Touchscreen Technology

To better understand how touchscreen gloves work, you must look at capacitive touchscreen technology. There are nearly a half-dozen different types of touchscreen technologies, the two most common of which include resistive and capacitive. Resistive touchscreen technology uses pressure to detect touch commands. When you press the display interface, you’ll inadvertently push the top layer into an underlying bottom layer. The resistive device then identifies the location where these two layers met, processing it as the location for your touch command.

Capacitive touchscreen devices work in a completely different way. Rather than identifying touch commands using pressure, they rely on capacitance. Capacitive touchscreen devices feature a top layer of glass that’s coated with a transparent conductive material, usually indium tin oxide (ITO). When you press the display interface, your finger will absorb some of the electricity flowing through the conductive material, which the device uses as the location of your touch command.

Overview of Touchscreen Gloves

Touchscreen gloves are unique because they are designed to with capacitive touchscreen devices, including smartphones, tablets, HMIs and more. Contrary to what some people believe, they don’t use batteries or require a corded connection to a wall outlet. In fact, touchscreen gloves aren’t powered at all.

The mechanics behind touchscreen gloves is actually pretty simple. The fingertips are made of a conductive material, allowing them to absorb the electrical current produced by capacitive touchscreen devices. When you touch the surface of a capacitive device while wearing touchscreen gloves, the conductive fingertips will absorb some of its electrical current — just like a bare finger.

You can’t wear just any pair of gloves while using a capacitive touchscreen device. For the device to detect your touch commands, you must wear touchscreen gloves. They are designed with conductive fingertips that absorb some of the device’s electrical current, which the device detects as a touch command.

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