You don’t have to look too far these days to discover the preferred form of human-machine interface (HMI) is the touch screen. Whether it’s selecting your meal preferences at your favorite local restaurant or performing a quick on-the-go search on your smartphone, there are plenty of real-world examples of how a touch screen display can be used to make life easier. When picking a screen for your specific needs, you’ll have two main choices: resistive and capacitive.
What is a Resistive Screen?
A resistive screen is made up of electrically conductive and resistive layers with air gaps between each one. While the outermost layer is made up of scratch-resistant plastic, the firmer lower layer is usually made of plastic or glass. Invisible separator dots separate each layer. Touches to resistive screens are recognized by sensors when the two layers are pressed together by a fingertip that triggers a change in current.
Pros and Cons
On the positive side, resistive screens are able to recognize fingers, gloved hands, or a stylus. They’re also resistant to dust and able to stand up to use in a variety of temperatures. Because of a higher sensor resolution, these screens tend to work well for handwriting.
However, resistive screens also have low sensitivity, which means users have to press firmly on the surface. Furthermore, dead zones may appear in areas of the screen that are frequently used. Plus, there’s no multi-touch support. In addition, scratches, cracks, and similar types of damage to the screen can affect performance.
What is a Capacitive Screen?
Capacitive screens draw on the body’s electrical impulses where the screen is touched. Because the user’s “electricity” is used, these screens are highly sensitive, meaning only light pressure is needed to get the desired response. The screen has an insulating layer like glass that’s coated on the inside with a transparent conductive material. The user-generated electricity passes right through the insulating layer.
Pros and Cons
The biggest pro with capacitive screens is the touch sensitivity, which can make such screens easy to use for individuals not able to firmly press a screen. Such screens offer multi-touch support as well. They also allow for displays that are much sharper and brighter. Additionally, frequent use doesn’t usually produce dead zones, and minor imperfections won’t affect screen sensitivity.
On the downside, gloved fingers generally cannot be used on capacitive screens. Additionally, a special conductive tip stylus is required for non-finger screen activation. Because of the sensitivity of the screen, it’s also possible to make unintended touches that trigger actions not desired.
How you plan to use your touch screen display will be the ultimate deciding factor when choosing between resistive and capacitive options. It’s just as important to select your preferred screen from sources like GVision, where you’ll find a variety of configurations and designs within reasonable price ranges.