Touch screens are now nearly ubiquitous, but they have a relatively short history. Despite a few niche applications that were tried earlier, the first mainstream use of touch screen technology was Apple’s iPhone. The rest, as they say, is history. Following Apple’s implementation of the touch screen in its iPhone, the touch screen quickly gained adoption in a variety of applications. Now, not too many years later, the touch screen is almost universal.
As the technology behind touch screens has evolved, so too have the possibilities. Initially, touch screens would recognize one touch, much like a click from a mouse. Now, touch screens are frequently capable of supporting multi-touch gestures which greatly increase the versatility of touch screen devices.
Touch walls are one example of the evolution of touch screens. These cutting edge devices are currently seen only in high-end corporate environments, museums, and higher education institutions.
Another innovation in touch screen technology is optical recognition. This technology adds infrared light to a white backlight to allow the camera to better visualize what is touching the touch surface. The image is then analyzed by a complex algorithm. Some of the advantages of optical recognition technology is that it is fast and is capable of seeing things that are not actually touching the glass – for example, a user’s wrist – to allow for even more intelligent programming.
Optical recognition is also capable of scanning QR-type codes. While there are many examples of how this may be adopted, one illustration is in shopping where product codes can be scanned into a computer for a more interactive shopping experience.
Northpoint Technologies, Inc. has been manufacturing touch screens, flexible circuits, silicone switches and more for nearly three decades. We also distribute electronic components to nationally recognized customers. Contact us today at 915-591-6300 to learn more or to request a quote.