Mobile touch screen technology

Do you know how tour mobile touch screen works? written by: Ravitej Touch screen hand held devices like smart phones and many touch screen enabled monitors have become common now days. Every one uses their gadgets like video game consoles,tablet computers but never thinks about how does a touch screen works. Here is the simple stuff you want to know at least for the knowledge sake.

The touch screen recognition technology simply works on 3 ways i.e. Resistive,Capacitive and the third one based on Surface acoustic wave technology which is little complex and complicated than the first two.

Resistive touch which is bit older than Capacitive is the most common and basic touch screen. Early mobile manufacturing companies like Nokia tried to use resistive touch screen. Even though these types of screens are easy to produce and cost less, their durability is low. Their lifetime is low due to more pressure applied during the use. The touch system consists of two yellow electrical layers one is resistive and other one is conductive. Based on the changes in the electric conduction at different location of the screen, the device carries out different functions. Now a days These resistive screen are commonly used bank ATMs, in supermarket billing screens.

Resistive touch can not to be used in different appliances due to certain limitations. They can not be used in high end devices like smartphones like iPhone that requires multiple finger touch to play games. That’s why a most of the high end gadgets uses capacitive touch as these screens detects the conduction at every point on the screen.

Capacitive screens unlike resistive touch don’t works based on the pressure of our finger that creates a change in the electric conduction. Instead, it uses capacitor technology that holds an electric charge to store. We also can find many electric charge particles on our skins. Capacitive touch screens are made up of Copper and Iridium oxides that acts as charge holder during the touch responses. During the touch process when we touch the screen at a point, a charge is transferred from our finger to complete the electric circuit, creating a point of voltage drop on the touch surface. That’s why our touch screens don’t respond when we operate with hand gloves as the gloves can’t hold the charge required for the response. At the voltage drop point software recognizes the change and performs the allotted function.

Other advantages over resistive touch are capacitive touch layers transmits 90% of the light from the screens whereas the resistive screen transmits only 78% of the produced light. It makes the capacitive screen more clear and bright contrast including clear colors ideal for video games consoles of high graphics.

The last type surface acoustic system uses two built in transducers one for receiving the touch response and other for sending it to the main processor.This system has no touch layers like resistive and capacitive have. This makes the 100% light transmission creating a perfect image quality. These types are bit costly and little heavy which are not suitable for the light high end devices like phones, video games consoles.

Even though many screen technologies are innovated and being developed the industry prefers to use capacitive touch due to its light weigh and low cost. As of now there is no touch technology available which can accommodate larger touch surface as the charges often interferes with each others.


  1. Scott Turner

    Great article, not many sources that actually disect the technical side like you have.

    1. mediainteractive (Post author)

      Cheers Scott, glad you found it useful.

  2. Nathan Mose

    Nice Technical Article. I have bookmarked your site


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