We’ve come a long way since the late 1940’s when music industry pioneers first developed touch-sensitive synthesizers, paving the way for later advancements in the 1960s and 70s to pair touch technology with a graphical display to create the first touchscreen computer. It’s fair to say that these early touchscreen inventors likely never envisioned the seemingly endless applications for their devices that exist today.
Both Capacitive and Resistive touchscreen panel PCs are very popular among industrial PC users, which is why many of the models in our Panel PC Line are available in both capacitive and resistive versions. The continued growth of touchscreen use is also why the question of which type of touchscreen to use is one we hear all the time. There are distinct advantages to each type of touchscreen, so let’s take a quick look at how they work and where each excels.
How Does a Capacitive Touchscreen Computer Work?
Capacitive touchscreen panels consist of an insulator, such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor. Since the human body is also an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen’s electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. The location of this disruption is identified and sent to the touchscreen controller for processing.
The most common use of capacitive touchscreen computers today is in cell phones and tablet PCs, but in the industrial computing space, kiosk systems and digital signage solutions commonly utilize capacitive touchscreens due to their accuracy and the light touch necessary to register contact.
Over the last decade, capacitive touchscreens have gained popularity in a wide range of industries. Now you can get cash from the ATM, gas up the car and buy your movie tickets all from capacitive touchscreen kiosks on the way to the theater. For consumer transactions, the capacitive touchscreen has become the go-to solution because of it’s intuitive and accurate user experience.
How Does a Resistive Touchscreen Computer Work?
Resistive touchscreen computer panels consist of two transparent sheets with a small gap between them. Each sheet is coated with a transparent conducting material and a uniform electrical resistance value is applied to the surface of each sheet. As the top sheet gets pressed and contacts the sheet behind it, electricity is conducted and the location of the conduction point is detected and sent to the touchscreen controller for processing.
The physical pressure required to operate resistive touchscreens means they can be used while wearing gloves, a major advantage for food production, medical and factory automation applications where these type of touchscreens are most common.
Capacitive and resistive touchscreen panel PCs process information using different technology, but the convenience they offer in Human Machine Interface (HMI) applications has made them one of the largest growth areas for industrial PCs. The choice between these two distinct touch panels will depend on your specific application, but if you have questions about which type of touchscreen is right for your project our Solution Specialists can help you make the right choice. To check out our full line of panel PCs, click here.