5 Most Popular Touchscreen Technologies Available in 2021

touchscreen technologyTouchscreen technology has become increasingly sophisticated over the years with new developments and improvements constantly on the horizon. And the year 2021 is no exception. In fact, there are going to be a lot of advancements made to this technology to increase its convenience factor and prevalence.

Here are the top five most popular types of rugged touchscreen technology that we think will continue to make big waves in 2021.

Surface Capacitive Touchscreen

Comprised of a glass panel that’s located under a layer of transparent electrodes and a protective screen cover, surface capacitive touchscreens are most commonly used for everyday devices such as mobile phones and laptop computers. They respond to direct skin-to-screen touch only. Surface capacitive touchscreen technology requires the electrical capacity of the human body to function. Hence, surface capacitive touchscreens can only be operated by an electrically charged stylus pen, touchscreen gloves, or a naked human finger.

Surface capacitive touchscreens also boast a number of desirable features including excellent picture/image quality, excellent durability, shatter resistance, scratch resistance, as well as water, dust, and greaseproof capacities that ensure a superior user experience compared to other touchscreen technologies on the market.

Projected Capacitive Touchscreen

Projected capacitive touchscreen technology has two major advantages over its predecessor, the surface capacitive touchscreen.

While surface capacitive touchscreen technology can only be operated by making direct contact with a naked human finger or special accessories, the projected capacitive touchscreen can be activated with gloved hands. The benefit is that users don’t have to purchase special accessories like mobile phone gloves or a stylus pen to use it while outside during the winter months. This is especially useful for people who work in environments that require them to wear surgical or plastic gloves.

Also, projected capacitive touchscreens have what’s known as a multi-touch activation feature. The screen recognizes and responds to coinciding touch functions from various sources. Projected capacitive touchscreens offer crystal clear image and video quality and they’re resistant to water, dust, and other surface contaminants as well as scratches.

Although projected capacitive touchscreens can’t be operated with a stylus pen, they can be operated with gloves. This makes them the perfect option for healthcare workers and anyone else who has to wear gloves for work.

Resistive Touchscreen

Resistive touchscreen is one of the most commonly used types of touch technology for a variety of devices. It contains a thin metallic sheet that covers a film screen and glass panel, leaving a miniscule gap in between. The gap allows for maximum flexibility when the screen is being used, preventing the glass component from cracking under the slightest pressure.

When contact is made, the two metallic sheets come together at the specific contact point. This generates an electric current that indicates to the device where the point of contact was made and what action needs to be taken. All of these processes happen simultaneously in a matter of seconds completely unbeknownst to the user.

Resistive touchscreens are great for a variety of applications and users. Unlike the surface and projected capacitive touchscreens, the resistive touchscreen can be operated using any instrument whether it’s direct touch with a human finger, a stylus pen, or a gloved hand. Resistive touchscreens also come at a much lower price point than its contemporaries, but there are some drawbacks to this.

The image quality is lower and the film screen isn’t completely impervious to scratches or cracks if it comes in contact with a sharp object or too much pressure. If cost is the main driving force behind your touch technology buying decision, however, then the resistive touchscreen is the right choice for you.

Infrared Touchscreen

Infrared touchscreens come in at the highest price point, but they also have a lot of advantages, one of which is the ultra-crystal clear image quality and clarity. It’s also one of the most durable touchscreen technologies on the market.

The way it works is that infrared receivers and light emitters produce a group of invisible light beams throughout the screen, which eliminates the need for a protective layer. The lack of a protective screen results in the pristine crystal clear picture quality. Every time a point of contact is made either by an object or human finger, the light beams are interrupted. The device automatically recognizes and reacts to the directive given by the point of contact.

Aside from the amazing image quality, other advantages of infrared technology are it’s completely scratch-resistant and has an infinite touch life. Despite all of these great features, there are a few glaring disadvantages that are hard to ignore, especially since infrared touchscreens are the most expensive out of all of the displays mentioned here. Infrared touchscreens are incredibly sensitive to all points of contract, including dirt, dust, and grease buildup on the screen.

In order for the screen to work accurately, it has to be perfectly clean at all times. Coming too close to the screen will activate its sensors, causing it to immediately react to any accidental touches. Plus, infrared touchscreens aren’t waterproof and any small liquid droplets can cause the screen to malfunction.

Surface Acoustic Wave

Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) touchscreens are made up of a variety of piezoelectric transducers which convert different amounts of pressure into electrical signals and receivers that are located along the sides of the screen. The piezoelectric transducers and the receivers work in tandem to create an unseen grid system of ultrasonic waves across the surface panel. Touching these ultrasonic waves interrupts their movement directly at the point of contact. This interruption and absorption communicates to the device where the screen has been touched and what action needs to be taken in accordance to the touchpoint.

Advantages of SAW touchscreens are that it can be operated by any soft object, it has high-quality image clarity, and it’s scratch resistant. A few drawbacks is that it can’t be operated by hard objects like pens and any dirt, oil, or grease on the screen will create unresponsive areas. SAW touchscreens come at a fairly moderate price point.

For more information on the latest technological touchscreen developments and trends for 2021, read our blog. Nauticomp Inc. is one of the most renowned developers of state-of-the-art custom industrial and commercial-grade touchscreen monitors and displays in North America. Contact us today to place an order.