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Touch Screen Technology, Where it Comes From and Where it Will Lead Us

Person Using Apple iPad

Back in the 80s and 90s, we watched sci-fi movies filled with touchscreen devices we could never imagine would exist. It was exciting and quite shocking at the same time. One of the gadgets from the very first Star Trek series from the 1960s introduced the idea of touch screens to the world but only in popular culture. It would take three decades for humans to experience this out-of-this-world gadget finally. And we did when IBM launched the Simon. In 1992, the IMB Simon was the first touchscreen mobile device ever recorded. While it did not have widespread fame, it was the catalyst for the next iteration of touch screens we would only experience more than a decade later.

How Does A Touch Screen Work?

In a scientific explanation, you use your finger to disrupt an electrical current. Now, let’s unpack this. Today we live in a world where touch screen technology is widely available and comes in different costs, from unbelievably expensive to affordable too. Meaning most people can own some form of touch screen. These technological wonders have crept into every aspect of life, including entertainment such as that online casino you enjoy. And it’s great because instead of heading to your local casino, touch screen technology helps you to play at home, on your mobile device — whether a tablet or mobile phone.

Three parts work together for a touchscreen to work effectively: the touch sensor, the controller and the software. There are three distinct types of touch sensors:

  • Resistive: Two metallic layers bond and cause a change in the electrical current. This then registers as a touchscreen event. Thereafter, a signal is sent to the computer controller for processing. Then you can use your fingers or a stylus to use the screen.
  • Surface acoustic wave: This one has to do with sounds. So sound waves are sent across the touch screen glass and then become absorbed once you use a stylus.
  • Capacitive: Here, a layer of capacitive material changes an electrostatic charge at the specific point where contact needs to be made on the screen, allowing you to use your fingers on the screen.
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The controller aspect takes the sensor’s information and then unravels it to determine where the touch occurred. Thereafter, the information is sent to the software that reacts to the touch.

SmartPhone Touch Screen

Examples of Touch Screens

Mobile devices are the most widely used touch screens. Today you only find smartphones with touch screens since feature phones have become nearly obsolete. Then you have iPads and various other tablet devices. But that’s not all. Some laptops are touchscreen compatible, as well as the latest versions of music players.

In other aspects of the world, we see touch screens in malls. Those information screens are where you can navigate the mall to find a particular store you are looking for or just general information. Then there are screens inside fast-food restaurants such as Mcdonald’s. These are often self-serving devices that allow you to literally click away. Self-service kiosks can also be found in grocery stores, and in some parts of the world, customers hardly interact with staff because of these nifty touchscreen devices.

Where the Technology is Heading

While we might think there is no way some devices can include a touch screen, we could not be further from the truth. Speaker and headphone company JBL has recently announced its intention to launch a pair of touchscreen earbuds. While the earbuds themselves won’t have a screen, the case will. The Tour Pro 2 will release in spring this year and come with various upgrades and features. The touch-enabled earbud case can charge the earbuds up to three charges in just one charge. But the exciting thing here is that this tiny 1.5 LED screen allows for playback control, displays notifications and even shows the time too.

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JBL isn’t the only brand expanding into touch. There are rumors that Apple is finally venturing into touchscreen Macs. We might see this new innovation from Apple as soon as 2025, and we are quite excited about this. This is all we know for now, but I hope Apple will make a statement this year.

Obviously, if Apple is sharing some touch-screen-related news, then you know Samsung has something up its sleeves as well. But this time, it’s been confirmed. We will soon see Samsung’s first OLED laptop with integrated touch sensors. This technology is only known to be used on Samsung’s Galaxy S range and Apple’s iPhones. However, Samsung claims they are the first to produce OLED panels with integrated touch screens. For now, we know that this new range of laptops will form part of the company’s Galaxy range of laptops, so we can imagine that it will give us the very best in terms of technology.

Transformation of Touch Screens

An interesting concept in modern-day cars is touch screens. For some, it might seem ridiculous, while for others, it is a much-needed addition to their car they never knew they needed. With touchscreen devices, we are almost always concerned about the consumer aspect in terms of self-service kiosks and mobile devices such as smartphones. But we rarely consider cars and how touch screen affects them.

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Roughly 10 years ago, most cars had tiny screens with just enough room for two fingers to move comfortably. It was a benefit many didn’t think about, yet it provided ease and convenience. Today, screens are much larger, with some calling them ridiculous in some instances. It is predicted that we will see automobile screens grow from 4 inches in 2023 to a whopping 47 inches in 2027. This means your dashboard center console will have a bigger screen than today’s iPad.

While this growth in just four years seems a bit out there, we are currently seeing luxury car manufacturers add screens to passenger seats as well. So the idea that screens will grow in size does not seem too far-fetched. It will allow for both driver and passenger comfort, especially for those long-winded, hours-long road trips. The world is definitely going to have a lot to say about larger-than-life in-car touch screens, but you know what, we are here for it and will celebrate!

With all-new immersive touchscreen technology, who knows how our interaction with things like online casinos will change? Only time will tell.

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