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A Capacitive Touch Screen is a display device that allows the user to interact with a computer using their finger or stylus. They're a useful alternative to a mouse or keyboard for navigating a GUI (graphical user interface). Touch screens are used on a variety of devices, such as computer and laptop displays, smartphones, tablets, cash registers, and information kiosks. Some touch screens use a grid of infrared beams to sense the presence of a finger instead of utilizing touch-sensitive input.
Touch screen history
The idea of a touch screen was first described and published by E.A. Johnson in 1965. In the early 1970s, the first touch screen was developed by CERN engineers Frank Beck and Bent Stumpe. The physical product was first created and utilized in 1973. The first resistive touch screen was developed by George Samuel Hurst in 1975 but wasn't produced and used until 1982.
What computers support a touch screen?
Today, all PCs support the ability to have a Surface Capacitive Touch Screen, and most laptop computers allow users running Microsoft Windows 10 to use a touch screen. Also, many all-in-one computers are capable of using a touch screen. Computer manufacturers with products that have touch screens include Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Microsoft, and other PC manufacturers.
There are also some high-end Google Chromebooks with touch screens. However, to help keep the costs lower, many Chromebooks do not have touch screens.
How do you use the touch screen?
Tap - A single touch or tap on the screen with a finger opens an app or select an object. When compared to a traditional computer, a tap is the same as clicking with a mouse.
Double-tap - A double-tap can have different functions depending on where it is utilized. For example, in a browser, double-tapping the screen zooms the view, centered at the tap location. Double-tapping in a text editor selects a word or section of words.
Touch and hold - Pressing and holding your finger to a touch screen selects or highlights an object. For example, you could touch and hold an icon, and then drag it somewhere else on the screen. See our long press page for further information on this term.
Why is a touch screen an input device?
Any computer device (including a touch screen) that takes input from the person operating the device is considered an input device. The way you use your finger on a Resistive Touch Screen is very similar to how you use a computer mouse on a desktop computer.
How is a touch screen different than a mouse?
A computer mouse and touch screen have many similarities. Many of them are mentioned in the how do you use the touch screen section above.
One of the most significant differences between a mouse and a Raspberry Pi Touchscreen is the ability to hover. Almost all touch screens can only detect input when your finger is in direct contact with the screen. However, a computer mouse uses a cursor that allows the user to view the information by moving the pointer over an object, but not clicking it. For example, this link to Computer Hope shows the text "Visit the Computer Hope Page" when hovered over using a computer mouse. However, a user with a touch screen cannot see this text because if they place their finger on the link, it opens the link.
Why are touch screens used?
Below are the reasons a manufacturer may decide to use a Touch LCD Screen Assembly, instead of another input method, such as physical buttons.
Touch screens are intuitive, especially to younger generations of users.
Having one touch screen instead of several buttons can make a device smaller.
Cheaper to design and manufacture a device with one screen instead of on with a screen and buttons.
Touch screen technologies
Not all LCD Display touch screens are the same. Different technologies can be utilized to allow a user to interact with a screen. Some technologies may work with only your finger, and other technologies may allow other tools, like a stylus. Below is a brief description of each of these technologies.