Sunday, January 30, 2011

Touch screens - What do you know..?

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Touch screens nowadays are becoming so common that every gadget in the world is going touch screen. Every person in his day to day life will interact with something which is touch screen. But have you ever wondered what these touch screens are made of..? How do they work..? What's the technology behind it.?

Many people don't know about these. After you finish reading this, you will be amazed by the technology and think of it as a miracle..!

I don't think defining 'touch screen' is necessary as you know what it means. you can easily write,navigate,open windows etc with touch screen. But think of this, ' within fraction of second your touch is your touch is translated into control commands that a computer understands'..! but how..??

To know that, lets look at different type of touch screens.
  1. Capacitive touch screens : Its a wafer thin electrode made of ITO ( indium tin oxide) coated below glass. In such screens, an electrical field is generated on the surface of the screen. That field is disrupted by the user's touch, and electrodes on the edges of the screen measure changes in the current and can thus define the location of the disruption.
  2. Resistive touch screens : Its composed of many layers. The most important are the two electrically conductive layer separated by a small distance. When you touch on it, the two metallic layers become connected at that point.This results in the change in the current and computer locates the point of contact.
  3. Acoustic pulse recognition : It makes you of piezoelectric transducers. They "hear" sound waves caused by the user's touch. Sensors in the edges of the screen measure the amount of time it takes for the pulse to reach the edge, and can then calculate the location of the touch.
There are many other type of touch screens too like surface acoustic wave, optical imaging, self capacitance etc. Please feel free to explore the web...:)

The mobile touch screens what we use everyday uses 'Capacitive touch screens' as they are light and inexpensive. But there is a problem....!! The material used in the manufacture of these screens i.e, ITO (indium tin oxide) is very rare. There are only few deposit of indium anywhere in the world. So thinking of the future, scientists are looking for an alternative for ITO.

Now the updated news in the touch screens technology is that the researchers at Fraunhofer have come up with an alternative to ITO which is as efficient as ITO also cheaper ..!!

Its main components are carbon nanotubes and low-cost polymers. This new electrode foil is composed of two layers. One is the carrier, a thin foil made of inexpensive polyethylenterephthalate PET used for making plastic bottles. Then a mixture of carbon-nanotubes and electrically conducting polymers is added that is applied to the PET as a solution and forms a thin film when it dries.

So now you know about a technology and tell others and make yourself look intelligent..:) So see you when something significant happens in the world of science n technology...:)

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