Technology is advancing forward continuously and with that touch screens are becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives be it from mobile phones, home pc monitors, laptops, arcade games or even at the self service checkout in the supermarket.
At Redbox Multimedias we have been specialising in touch screen games for children for over a decade and have trialled and tested many different touch screens for our market.
Touch screens come in four different variations: resistive, capacitive, infra red and surface accoustic wave (SAW), depending on what environment the touch screen will be in will determine what type of touch screen you will use. Touch screens no matter what type, size or style all work in the same basic way: contact is made on the screen, a signal is sent to the touch controller telling what area was touched using X&Y coordinates; which is processed and then sent onto the computer where the software you are using determines what action will be taken
There are different types of touch screen but what is the difference?
Resistive- is the most commonly used touch screen as it is the most durable but not the most sensitive. There are two layers which have a small gap in between and when you apply pressure to the screen a contact is created by the top layer touching the bottom layer
Capacitive – has a constant voltage and when the glass front of the touch screen is touched it creates an electrostatic field and the screen reacts by sending the information to the touch controller
Infra red – works with small infra red LEDs mounted around the outer edges of the glass front and basically divides the surface of the screen into small squares, making it extremely accurate. You can also use a stylus or have gloves on to make this work as it does not require a conductor, your finger, to make it work
Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) – are the most sensitive of the touch screens as it works by sending an ultrasonic wave across the screen, when the screen is touched the ultrasonic beam is altered and the information is sent to the touch controller
Touch screens all have their own pros and cons depending on the requirements of what you will be utilising touch screen technology for. In the childrens touch screen games environment the resistive touch screen proves to be too hard for the younger children to action and enjoy the games. As most childrens touch screen games kiosks are in areas where supervision is not always there to monitor children playing on touch screen kiosks i.e. airport departure lounges, hospital accident & emergency department areas; the SAW and infra red are not a good option for use as they are easy to disable by jamming an object such chewing gum onto the side of the screen therefore rendering the screens inoperable as the beams are blocked. The capacitive touch screen is the more robust and usable for a childrens environment that still allows the younger children, 3 years of age and above, to enjoy and use games within the touch screen technology environment.