Different Touchscreen Technologies: Which One Is the Best for Your Application?

In the last 20 years or so, numerous innovative technological advancements and the increasing demand for greater convenience and higher quality devices have all paved the way for state-of-the-art touchscreen technologies to infiltrate the market and become the industry standard. Rugged touchscreens have become such a widespread mainstay in our collective consciousness and daily activity that many of us tend to take their importance and functionality for granted without even realizing it. When it comes to choosing between commercial-grade or industrial touchscreen monitors, it’s important to know the difference between each type of display and how they can benefit either your personal or professional needs.

5 Types of Rugged Touchscreen Technologies

Here are the five main types of rugged touchscreen technologies that are used today.

5-Wire Resistive Touchscreen Technology

Resistive touchscreens are the most commonly used type of touchscreen technology mostly because they’re the most versatile and can be used for numerous applications. There are several layers that comprise resistive touchscreens. The first layer is a film that’s protected by a glass panel and these are shielded by two thin metallic sheets with a small gap in between. The idea is that when you press anywhere on the screen, the metallic sheets touch and this helps the device detect exactly where point of contact was made and what type of action is required. Resistive touchscreen are highly durable and responsive. Their widespread appeal stems from the fact that you can use almost any object including your finger, gloved hands, or even a stylus pen to activate them.

Projected Capacitive

Projected capacitive can be operated with either bare or gloved hands, which makes them very handy in the medical, construction, and restaurant industries. These industrial touchscreen monitors boast multi-technology, which means that they’re capable of reading multiple points of contact and commands simultaneously. They also showcase crystal clear, high-resolution images that make it easier for people with very poor vision to view the screen.

Surface Capacitive

Surface capacitive technology is one notch ahead of resistive touchscreen technology in the sense that it offers a higher picture quality and resolution. It’s also a very commonly used type of touchscreen that’s built into a lot of rugged LCD monitors that are currently on the market. The one downfall of surface capacitive displays is that they can only react to direct skin-to-screen contact, which means you can’t use any inanimate objects and you can’t operate them while wearing gloves.

Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) Touchscreen Monitors

SAW touchscreen monitors utilize ultrasonic waves to help identify points of contact on the device’s screen. These touchscreens can be activated using pretty much any objects including your bare or gloved hands, stylus pens, fingernails, regular pens, etc. Each touch is registered immediately and then absorbed by the device to render the fastest, most accurate, and highest quality performance possible. SAW technology also boasts sunlight readable screens that can easily automatically or manually be adjusted according to the lighting of the user’s location in addition to being water- and dust-resistant. The only drawback is that the screen has to be kept clean and free of smudges or water droplets, otherwise it will be unresponsive. Therefore, this technology isn’t suitable for environments that aren’t temperature or moisture-controlled.

Infrared (IR) Technology

IR technology is ideal for people who spend a lot of time working outside. They’re extremely durable and can withstand most heavy weather conditions such as snow or rain. They don’t require as many protective layers as the abovementioned technologies because they operate a network of light beams that shine below the surface of the screen. Any time an object comes into contact with any part of the screen, the beams of light are interrupted and this is how the device detects an exact point of contact. IR technology offers the best picture quality and clarity of all of the devices mentioned in this article and it also boasts the best sunlight readability of all. Unfortunately, this touchscreen technology is also extremely sensitive and can easily become damaged if it’s not taken care of properly and cleaned on a regular basis.

Nauticomp Inc. is the leading designer, manufacturer, and distributor of top-of-the-line industrial touchscreen monitors in Canada and the United States. Our custom-built monitors and displays are suitable for use across a variety of industries and come with numerous important features that complement and fulfill your professional or personal needs. Contact us today to learn more about our high-tech products and our company.