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Advantages and Disadvantages of Infrared Touch Screen

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 5148 words Published: 17th Jul 2017

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Touch-screen is an electronic visual display that can find the existence and location of a touch inside the display area. The term just like direct to touching the display of the device with a hand or finger. Touch-screens can also fell other passive objects, such as a stylus. But, if the object find is animate, as a light pen, the term touch-screen is usually not applicable.

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The touch-screen has two main characteristically. First, touch-screen applies one to interaction straightly with what is showed, instead of indirectly with a cursor controlled by a mouse or touchpad. Second, touch-screen lets one do so without demand any intermediate device that would require to be maintain in the hand. This display can be close to computers or to networks as a terminal. They also perform as an outstanding role in the design of digital tackles such as the PDA (personal digital assistant), satellite navigation devices, mobile phone, video games and etc. (Dictionary of Architectural and Building Technology 4 Edition, 2004)


In 1971, the first “touch sensor” was exploited by Doctor Sam Hurst (founder of Elographics) at the time he was an instructor at the University of Kentucky. He had given this sensor a name, “Elograph,” been patented by The University of Kentucky Research Foundation.

Dr. Sam Hurst (left) the founder of Touch-screen. (Elotouch, 2009)

The “Elograph” was not transparent like modern touch screens; but it was a distinguished landmark in touch screen technology. In 1974, the first really touch screen bring in a transparent surface was exploited by Sam Hurst and Elographics. In 1977, Elographics exploited and patented five-wire resistance technology, the most popular touch-screen technology use today. Touch-screens firstly obtained some visibility with the creation of the computer-assisted learning terminal, which are come out in 1975 as a part of the PLATO project. Soon afterwards, touch-screens have become intimate in daily life. Most of the companies use touch-screens for kiosk system in retail and travel settings, POS system, ATMs system, PDAs, with a stylus is sometimes used to control the user interface or to enter data. The prestige of smart phones, PDAs, portable game console and varies types of information appliances is manipulation the requirements for, and accepting of touch-screens.

The first touch-screen on the world, “Elograph”. (Elotouch, 2009)

From 1979-1985, the Fairlight CMI (and Fairlight CMI IIx) was a high-end musical sample and resynthesis workstation that exploit light pen technology, with the user would distribute and control sample and synthesis data, as well as feeder different menu within its OS by touching the screen with the light pen. The latest Fairlight series III models, the place of light pen had used a graphics tablet.

The HP-150 from 1983 was the one world’s earliest commerce touch-screen computer. The touch-screen monitor didn’t have a touch-screen in the strict sense; while it had a 9 inch Sony Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) encircled by infrared transmitters and receivers, which are controlled by the position of any non-transparent objects on the screen.

Until nowadays, most consumer touch-screens can only sense one point of contact at one time, and some had the ability to sense how hard one is touching. This is the time to make changes with the commercialization of multi-touch technology.

Touch-screens computer are popular used in hospitality, and in heavy industry, as well as kiosks such as museum displays or room automation, where normal computer input device such as keyboard and mouse do not allow a suitable intuition, fast response, or accurate interactive by the user with the display’s content.

Historically, the touch-screen transducer and its accompanying controller-based firmware have been made available by a wide array of after-market system integrators, and not by display, chip, or motherboard manufacturers. Display and chip manufacturers worldwide have recognition the tendency in regard to accepting of touch-screens as a highly advisable user interface module and have began to integrate touch-screen feature into the main design of their products. (Elotouch, 2009)

Touch-screen Technologies

I have read many journals and search from the internet about this topic, and I found that there have variety types of touch screen technology using in different area start from 1971. Below is the type of touch-screen technology.


Resistive touch-screen panel is build up of some layers, the most important layers of the resistive touch-screen panel which are two thin, that is metallic and electrically conductive layers dissociate by a narrow disparity. When an object, like a finger or a light pen, check down on a point on the resistive touch-screen panel’s outward surface, the two metallic layers will become as a connected at that point: the panel will conducts as a pair of voltage dividers with connected outputs. This is because a change in the electrical current, which is enroll as a touch incident and sent to the controller for processing.

Surface acoustic wave

Surface acoustic wave (SAW) technology is using ultrasonic waves to pass through the touch-screen panel. When an object like finger or light pen touched the panel, a part of the wave is absorption. This transform in the ultrasonic waves registers the situation of the touch incident and forwards the information to the controller for processing. Surface acoustic wave touch screen panels can be damaged by foreign elements. Pollutants on the surface will be also interfering with the function of the touch-screen. (Touch System 2009)


A capacitive touch-screen panel constitute of an insulator such as glass, spread with a transparent conductor like ITO (indium tin oxide). As we know, human body also is a conductor, with using human body touch the surface of the screen contents in a distortion of the body’s static electricity part, measure as a transform in electric capacity. Different technologies may be used to define the position of the touch. The position is use to send information to the controller for processing. (I-techcompany, 2009)

Surface capacitance

Surface capacitance in the basic technology, only have one side of the insulator is spread with a conduct electricity layer. A small voltage is utilized to the layer, effecting in an identical static electricity part. When a conductor, like a human’s finger, touches at the uncoated surface, capacitor is the formation of dynamic. The touch-screen sensor’s controller can define the position of the touch indirectly from the transform in the capacitance as measured from the each nook of the panel. As the surface capacitance has no moving fields, it is moderate degree durable but has finite resolution, is tend to fake semaphore from parasitism capacitive coupling, and requires adjustment during fabricate. Therefore, it is most frequently used in basic applications such as kiosks and industrial controls. (I-techcompany, 2009)

Projected capacitance

Projected Capacitive Touch (PCT) technology is a capacitance technology which excises more preciseness and quick operational, by etching the conduct electricity layer. An X-Y gridiron is formation whether etching a single layer to form a gridiron method of electrodes, or by etching two part, vertical layers of conduct electricity material with parallel lines or tracks to form the grid (compare to the pixels gridiron found in variety of LCD displays).

The greatest resolution of PCT giving permission to manipulate without direct connection, so the conduct electricity layers can be spread with further conservative insulator layers, and running indeed under screen protectors, peradventure back weather and vandal-proof mirror. Proper to the peak layer of a PCT entity mirror, PCT is a better right measure answer to resistive touch technology. Fell back on the execution, an active or passive stylus can used to cover for or in enhance to a human body, finger. This is familiar with POS equipment that demands to the signal that snatches up. Gloved fingers can or can’t be perceived, fell back on the execution and obtain settings. Smudginess on the conductor it can impede with the performances. The example of the smudginess on the conductor mostly come from rheumy or sweatiness fingers cusp, especially in high wateriness’ circumstance. Collected dust, which adhesively on the surface relevant to the hydrosphere from finger cusp also will be a problem. The two types of PCT: Self Capacitance and Mutual Capacitance. (Planarembeddred, 2010)

Mutual Capacitance

The capacitor at every junction of each column and each row, it is Mutual Capacitive sensors. In a 12-by-20 array, for example, it would have 240 self-governed capacitors. Voltage is appliance to each row or each columns conductor. Bringing a human body like finger or conductive stylus contiguous to the exterior of the sensor transforms the local static domain which recede the mutual capacitance. The capacitance transforms at each of the singlehanded conductor on the lattice can be estimate to exactly mensuration the sense the position by determine the voltage in the each datum line. Mutual capacitance empowers multi-touch control where multi-ply fingers, thenar or stylus can be exactly follow up the scent at the same time. (Planarembeddred, 2010)

Self Capacitance

Self capacitance sensors actually same like mutual capacitance sensors, both of them have same horizontal and vertical grid but the rows and column each is operate autocephaly. Self capacitance can able to load a human body like finger and light pen on each row or each column electric pole by a electrical current meter. The advantages for this method is it able to engender a strongest signal compare with mutual capacitance, but the disadvantages is it can’t accurately resolve more than one finger, as a result in “ghosting”, or mislay position catching. (Planarembeddred, 2010)


The infrared touch-screen uses an array of X-Y infrared light-emitting-diode (LED) and photo detector to match circumambience border of the interface to find out an interrupt in method of the LED horizontal beam. The main advantage for this system is it able to detect basically of any input, comprising a human body, finger, glove finger, stylus or a pen. Infrared touch-screen is ordinary widely used in outdoor application; ATM and point-of-sale (POS) system which are unable depend on a bare finger to activating the touch-screen. Infrared touch-screen is different with the capacitive touch-screens, it doesn’t need any fix design on the glass to increasing the durability and optics perspicuity of the entirely system. (I-techcompany, 2009)

Strain gauge

The configuration of the strain gauge, also known as the strength of panel technology, the screen is spring-mounted at the four corners and strain gauges are installed to determine the deflection during the screen is touched. This technology has been existed from 60 years since the 20th century, but Vissumo and F-Origin have to make new feature in the business possible solution. Strain gauge also able to measures the Z-axis and the strength of a person’s touched. This screen is usually used to expose the public system, for example ticket machines due to its obstruction to damage. (Wisegeek, 2010)

Optical imaging

Optical imaging is a more modern evolution touch-screen technology, it able to capture two or more image sensors which are placed around the border of the screen. An infrared back lights was install in the camera scene which are used to capture the images on the other side of the screen. Each of the touch will display as a shadow and the task for the camera is use to triangle and locates the touch or even step to the size of the touching object. Optical imaging is a technology which growing in prestige, because to its scalability, multifunction, and affordability, mostly for a buff units. (Wisegeek, 2010)

Dispersive signal technology

Dispersive signal technology was release in 2002 and introduced by 3M, this touch-screen is using the sensors to determine the mechanical energy on the screen that occurrence because to a touch. This technology is using intricacy algorithms to explanation the information offering the actual position of the touch. The most powerful feature for this technology is its wont compensation to be unaffected by dist or dust and any other external elements, such as scratches. This technology doesn’t have any additional element adding on the screen but it also enable to provide a distinction optical clarity. Apart from that, the mechanical vibration is using to determine a touch happening, any device also able use to engender such happening, such as human body, finger and also stylus. The disadvantages for this technology are the system is unable to determine a stirless finger after the initial touch. (Wisegeek, 2010)

Acoustic pulse recognition

Acoustic pulse recognition was release in 2006 and introduced by Tyco International’s Elo division, this technology was using piezoelectric sensors situated at several locations which are around the screens and use to convert the mechanical energy of a touch, also call as vibration into an electronic signal. This technology screen hardware is same like dispersive signal technology which are using algorithm to detect the actual position of the touch depend on the sensors signal. The generally material to made the touch-screen is glass, it will giving the touch-screen a good durability and optical clarity. Whatever the screen is full with scratches or dust, this technology also able to perform with a good accuracy. Besides that, this touch-screen technology is also good fit to demonstrates that are physical larger. A system which are installing with a dispersive signal technology, the system is unable to determine a stirless finger after the initial touch. But with the same reason above, identification is not interrupt by any remaining objects. (Wisegeek, 2010)


There are a lot of majors’ methods to develop a touch-screen. The mains purpose for the touch-screen is to detect one or more finger or stylus which are touching on a display screen and use to constructing the pragmatic sanction that are representative, also use to convey the pragmatic sanction to the suitable system.

For the most popular touch-screen technology, which is capacitive and resistive approach, both of them are usually built by four layers;

1st layer

The upper polyester layer spread with a transparent coherer conductive which is spread on the bottom of the layer.

2nd layer

This layer is as a spacer which is built by adhesive.

3rd layer

The main material for this layer is glass; we also call this layer as glass layer. Transparent coherer conductive is also spread on the top of the layer.

4th layer

Another name for this layer is adhesive layer, it used on reverse side of the glass layer for the installation.

When the touch-screen system detects a touch, the system will record all the changes that occur on electrical current which are work through the display or screen.

One of the touch-screen technologies which are develop by 3M in 2002, dispersive-signal technology, this technology is focus on piezoelectric effect. This technology will generate the voltage during the mechanism force is exploit to a materials, a chemically situation will happen during a reinforce screen substrate is touches.

There are two type of the infrared-based approaches touch-screen technology. One of them, it is using an array of sensor to determine the actual position where a human body, finger is touching or almost touching to the display or the screen, accordingly use to blocking the light beams projected cross over the display. Another infrared-based touch-screen technology is operate with a infrared cameras which is install on the bottom layer of the screen and use to record each of the touch which are happen on the display or screen.

In each of the situation, the touch-screen system will detect each of the meaningful pragmatic sanctions depends on the operation which is display on the screen during the time and the actual position of the touch. (Ipod Touch Fans, 2010)


Practically each of the distinguished touch-screen technology patents were submitted in the 1970s and 1980s and already expired. Touch-screen package manufacturing and goods programming is no more guarantee by royalties or legitimacy with concerning to patent and nowadays the manufacturing extensive applying touch-screen technology display on several types of devices.

The evolvement of multitasking of touch-screen convenience is used to tracking touching by one or more than one human body, finger or stylus on the screen, therefore the touch-screen operations that need more than one finger are probability. Besides that, this touch-screen devices support more than one user to interaction with the touch-screen at the same times.

Nowadays, there are a lot of products is apply with the high-tech and integrate touch-screen technology in the world. With the fast growing and acceptance by public, the inconsequential cost for the touch-screen technology is consuetude draw into the device that is included touch-screen technology and is potentially eliminated. As generally happen with any technology before, touch-screen technology include software and hardware have sufficiently ripped and was perfectly survive in the world over more than thirty years based on the point which is its reliability is certify. There is why, nowadays so many system or product are applied with touch-screen technology, such as Global Positioning System (GPS), airplanes, mobile phone, gaming console, ticketing system, machine control system, utensil, and each type of handheld devices. With the influence of the touch-screen technology, Apple Inc. has developed a mobile phone which is fulfilling with multi-touch technology and gives it a name as iPhone. By the releases of the iPhone, it had motivated the touch-screen mobile phone market and with the estimate it had bring in around US$5 billion in 2009.

The capability of the touch-screen technology to preciseness location of the point on the screen itself is also advancement with the rising of graphics tablet or screen hybrids. (Wikipedia, 2010)

  • Ergonomics and usage

From the journal Prometheus Critical Studies in Innovation, 2007, which are publisher by Routldge, I founded there are many ergonomics and usage about touch-screen. As following:

  • Finger Stress

Touch-screen technology has an ergonomic trouble and become a stress on human fingers for them which are during a user employed more than a few minute at a time, from important overwhelming force can be needs for some types of touch-screen. As we know, nowadays touch-screen technology already as a craze technology and continues to growing, therefore the community is going through a lot more finger pressure.

There have a lot of ways to emission this problem, such as some of the users will use a pen or some other devices to add exploit and more preciseness on the pointing. The exploitation of this kind device cans sometimes giving trouble, which are according to the required use. For example, public kiosks like ATM machine.

Fine motor control is better realizing working with a stylus. That is because a human finger is a quite wide and careless pointing of connecting with the touch-screen itself. (Prometheus Critical Studies in Innovation, 2007)

  • Fingernail as Stylus

From a science novelette short story “Scanners Live in Van” which is written by Cordwainer Smith (Pen Linebarger) in 1950, it is mentioning about using fingernail as stylus for easier typing. The idea of using fingernail as a stylus pruned to from a point on the screen, to be particularly used as a stylus on writing screen for communication.

These ergonomics problem of immediacy touching can be bypass by using a distinct skill, provided that the user fingernail are either short or long. Instead of touching by using soft skin of an extended fingernail, whatever the finger is curly but the top of the fingernail are able be used instead. From the underneath, the thumb finger is optional used as a supporter for the user finger or for the user who have long fingernails. This method is work on most touch-screen technology, but it didn’t work on capacitive touch-screens.

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As we know, fingernails are hard, bending appearance contact the screen at a very small point. So, the finger just needs a much less for touching, even bigger accurateness is probable (propinquity that of a stylus, with a little bit of experience), not to mention skin’s oil will spread on the screen, the fingernail able to dumbly move over the touch-screen with only a very small hindrance, empower to writing text, selecting, drawing or moving windows.

Fingernail is hardness and smoothness same like the top of a stylus that is because human fingernails contain of keratin and it wills not usually scratches or damage the touch-screen. In turn, it is available for a very short stylus top, which is able cunning correctly into end of the finger; this method will increasing the visibility of the appearance point on the touch-screen. (Prometheus Critical Studies in Innovation, 2007)

  • Fingerprints

Touch-screen able sustain from the issue of fingerprints on the appearance. This issue can be extenuate or prevent by using of staff with optical thins skin layout to mitigated the evident influence of fingers oils. For example, the oleophobic used to spreading in the iPhone 3GS, or by mitigated skin contact during using a finger nail or stylus. (Prometheus Critical Studies in Innovation, 2007)

This is USB finger print which is using touch-screen technology. (Gabget Venue, 2009)

  • Combined with Haptics

Most users empirical with touch-screen which are don’t have tactile feedback or tactual sensation can be a trouble depends on latencies or other method. Base on the research from University in Glasgow Scotland which are handle by Brewster, Chohan and Brown on 2007, the illustrate the specimen users deduct input error by 20%, increase data input speed by 20%, and minimize user acknowledge load by 40% during touch-screen are integrate with tactual sensation or tactual feedback. (Prometheus Critical Studies in Innovation, 2007)

  • Gorilla Arm

Base on the hacker slang dictionary, Jargon File, its define Gorilla Arm as the miscarriage to realize the ergonomics of perpendicular installed touch-screen for long time used. The advocate is that human body, arm held in a not supported standard location speedy turn into knackered and suffering, this call “Gorilla Arm”. It is usually citation as a surface evidence sample of what is not able to done in ergonomic. Perpendicular touch-screen still dictates in most system such as ATMs and data kiosks about the usage is also informality as an n ergonomics issue.

Indisposed may be conformation by previously lousy position and shrivel of muscular system conformation by finite physics practice. Meticulous Art Printer is also a usually control the neck and shoulder painful depend on their position and the repeatability of their propulsion when they are painting. (Prometheus Critical Studies in Innovation, 2007)

Touch Screen Mobile Phones

Several years ago, everyone and their brother was talking about or playing with the Blackberry. It did not matter which make or model but people were simply intrigued by the features that Blackberry offered with its scrolling wheel, full qwerty keyboard, wide variety of applications

available from the Handango store on the phone. However through the natural process of evolution, the world has become blessed with a new kind of phone, a phone which truly changes the world of mobile phones, we are blessed with the touch screen mobile phone.

Originally the iPhone was the one and only phone out on the market which allowed users to use the power of their finger to control every aspect of the phone, rather than being imprisoned by a track wheel, or the newer more improved track ball. After the iPhone was originally released newer versions of the iPhone have come out in the 3G as well as the soon to come in the 3G S. These days however Apple is not the only company manufacturing these touch screen mobile phones, blackberry as well as several other notable phone companies have followed suit. If you asked a group of ten people which touch screen phone is the best, it is expected for the person to say the iPhone

, unless of course they hold some sort of grudge against the phone due to the fact that is is currently only available on AT&T. Regardless of your choice for the best touch screen phone on the market, you must always weight the pros and cons of each before you make a decision to buy or not to buy.


  • Simple to use, if you want to use it, touch it, and do the same if you are interested in closing it.
  • Visually pleasing to look at. You never have to see the full keyboard that you are typing on, rather you are able to type onto the phone when you want to, in both upright and landscape modes.
  • These days everyone and their brother is holding onto an iPhone the same way they used to hold onto Blackberries. The verdict? People arent using them for no reason, they are fun to use, and draw a certain amount of attention to the user.


  • The glass screen has the possibility of breaking even upon the slightest impact from a high distance. Odds are that if you are a person who is constantly dropping his or her phone, you should stay away from these touch screen phones, most of which do not offer insurance.
  • The built in digital keyboard can be hard to get adjusted to especially if you are not used to typing on any sort of QWERTY keyboard. This is a quick fix for most, but it is something to think about if you are not comfortable with hitting imaginary buttons.
  • Finally, these phones tend to be a bit more expensive than the other phones in their bracket, but the old adage stands true, you get what you pay for, and its recommended that you try one of the touch screen mobile phones out.

At the end of the day, everyone has their own idea of a best phone, or the best phone carrier. However the one thing that everyone can agree on is the fact that these touch screen mobile phones are truly revolutionary and within the next five years we will not have any such phone that is not a touch screen. If you have been hesitant to make the jump so far, it is recommended that you head to your local phone retailer, and at least play around with these touch screen devices. Odds are, you will be pretty surprised with the results.


Advantages and Disadvantages of touch Screen

From the journal and the internet resource that I read, I founded some advantage and disadvantage of using touch-screen.

The disadvantage for touch-screen device is it required a really big screen to avoid mistake when touching with human finger. Besides that, larger screen will bring low battery life effect. Normally touch-screen devices don’t have any extra keys, such as iPhone. Therefore, when the application collapse but without collapse the OS, so user can’t reach main menu when the screen is no response. Apart from that, touch-screen normally has lousy preciseness, QWERTY keyboards had known as an extra device. Most of the user-interface for touch-screen device is no optimization for thumb control, so user require and other device like stylus to control the application. User usually using their finger o touching the screen to control the touch-screen application, so this will make the screen get dirty and need to clean it up in certain time to prevent loss control. Lastly, touch-screen device require complex application to support, so it will slow down the response time and gain low battery life.

The advantage for touch-screen is it has a large screen which giving a good view for web browsing, picture or movies. Apart from that, typically touch-screen application has a simple user-interface which is more intuitive. This will gain user easy understanding when using the touch-screen device. iPhone mobile which are develop by Mac Ins. Is a good example to represent simple user-interface. Lastly, each of the touch-screen devices has some button is able to smash down after using a few months or years. (John Popes, 2010)




Touch-screens have been around since the 60’s. But it had just recently started to gain popularity and consumer markets. Nowadays, it’s pretty normal for most electronic devices, for example computer systems or entertainment systems to include a monitor. Users can interact it by using a mouse or keyboard to send input but with the implementation of this technology into these applications, it allows users to manipulate the systems through ‘touching’ the monitor itself.

Though the touch-screen technology contains some limitations, such as low precision when users use finger or the user must be within arm’s reach of the display, it’s user friendly, accurate, and easy to operate. With the implementation of touch-screens technology in different applications such as in the medical or military system, it will enhance the human machine interface experience.

As the accuracy and intuitiveness of the screen increases, they will become even more common than they already are for the ease of use they provided. Proper development of this technology will surely bring a lot more benefits to users in near future. The touch-screen technology is keys to achieving and realizing e-navigation.


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