Touch Screen Technology – History and Working

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Touch screen

The touchscreen is one of the most innovative developments that have taken place in the last few decades. I don’t need to tell you that how touch screen has changed our life.  We prefer touch screen not only on our mobile phone but on laptops, tablets, ATM machines, car navigators and in home appliances as well. Many of us believe that touch screen was first launched by Apple in 2007 in iPhone as an input device. But the fact is that the touchscreen had been invented many years before 2007. Here we need to accept this that Apple’s iPhone made touchscreen very popular.

We all use touchscreen and know the facts about touchscreen but only a few of us are aware of the history of the touchscreen. So in this article, we will tell you about the history of the touchscreen. We will cover the types of touch screen in our next article.

First Touch Technology

The earliest sign of the presence of a touchscreen took us in 1940. At today’s time, the touchscreen has become an inseparable part of information technology but it took birth in a music room. A plenty of evidence suggests that in 1940 touch screen was used in touch sensitive synthesizers. But the very first appearance of touch was not as user-friendly as it is now.

Capacitive Touch Screen Technology

In the 1940s the touch screen was not feasible to use but developer kept working to develop a more user-friendly touchscreen. Many historians believe that the first touch screen was developed in 1965-67 by Eric Johnson at the Royal Radar Establishment, Malvern, UK. The touchscreen developed in 1965 was a capacitive touch screen. On the basis of this version of the touchscreen, the modern touch screen is invented. Eric Johnson describes his work on the touch screen in an article named ‘Touch display – a novel input/output device for computers‘. published in 1965. In this article, the writer used diagrams and photographs to describe the capacitive touchscreen. Today’s ATMs and kiosk applications still work on the advanced version of this technology which was developed in 1965. In the years 1967 and 1968, magazines started publishing a lot of articles on the touchscreen. This is how people started to know of this technology.

How does it work?

Capacitive touchscreen consists of a glass that is coated with Indium Tin Oxide, a conductive material. When you touch this screen an electrostatic charge is created that sends information on the touch control in order to perform its function.

Resistive Touch Screen Technology

In 1970 the resistive touchscreen technology came up, which was developed by Dr. G. Samuel Hurst.

Dr. Hurst actually invented resistive touchscreen technology accidentally during a scientific experiment but later on, he worked on this technology and made it advanced. In 1972 again breaking news took place in the world of the touchscreen when a patent was filed by the University of Illinois on the optical touch screen.

How does it work?

In this technology two thin flexible metallic layers, a place with a gap in between. An electric current runs through these two layers. When the user touches the first layer, the top flexible layer touches the bottom one and interrupts the electrical current.  Most of the ATM machines’ touch screen work on this technology. This technology is not suitable for a smartphone.

Multi-Touch Screen Technology

Multi-touch screen technology was a revolution in the field of the touchscreen. The University of Toronto discovered multi-touch in 1982. This touch screen could detect multiple touch points. Now user can tap on screen and swipe on it in any direction. Hewlett-Packard used this technology in their machine named “HP-150” and prepared the first commercialized touchscreen computer. The multi-touch screen technology is the same which we use nowadays.

How does it work?

Multi-touch technology allows you to use many fingers at the same time to run on the touchscreen. It is mostly used in our gadgets like smartphones and laptops.  It’s based on Capacitive Sensing. When the user touches the screen, the charges at that point changes and resultes as a touch input.

First Touch Screen Mobile

Now we will talk about the touchscreen of our mobile phones. The first touchscreen mobile phone was launched by IBM and BellSouth. Later on, Apple followed the same path of touch screen mobiles phone with their version of touchscreen technology. Apple launched iPhone with Newton touch sensitive PDA. This technology made Apple’s iPhone the first smartphone ever.

The Bottom Line

So we discussed  the history of touchscreen that started in the 1940s and gifted us our smartphones. Many people and organizations deserve a thank you for developing the touch screen technology, but Eric Johnson is the most deserving person for a salute to bring touchscreen into our lives.

Hope you found this information interesting. To know more interesting facts about many other things, stay tuned with us.

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