The Evolution of Touchscreen Technology
The invention of touch technology on electronic displays has been one of the newest technology trends in recent years. Using an innovative user interface and doing away with the use of a mouse, touch devices have become highly popular in areas such as marketing, electronics, education, healthcare, and many others.
This article delves deeply into the background of this cutting-edge technology. It also addresses the benefits of touch display screens and gives a glimpse into the future.
History of Touchscreen Technology
Historians believe that E.A. Johnson, working at the Royal Radar Establishment in Malvern, United Kingdom, developed the capacitive touch display between 1965 and 1967. It is considered the first touch display in history. An essay written by the inventor and published in 1968 provided a comprehensive overview of the use of touch surface technology in air traffic control.
Doctor Sam Hurst invented a “touch sensor” in 1971 and later formed Elographics. At the time, Hurst worked as a teacher at the University of Kentucky. The University of Kentucky Research Foundation was the one who came up with the idea to patent this sensor, which they call the “Elograph.”
Although the “Elograph” was not see-through like modern touch panels, it represented a significant step forward in developing touch technology. The Elograph was one of the 100 most significant new technical products released in 1973.
Sam Hurst and Elographics introduced the world’s first genuine touch panel in 1974. It had a see-through surface and was developed by Elographics. Besides, Elographics patented and invented a resistive touch technology in 1977.
In 1977, Siemens Corporation provided funding to Elographics so that the company could develop the first curved glass touch sensor interface. The device was first referred to as a “touch display screen” and was manufactured by Elographics. The business was formally known as Elographics until the 24th of February, 1994, when it was rebranded as Elo TouchSystems.
Hewlett-Packard, a business that specializes in the production of computers, presented the HP-150, a home computer featuring touch technology, in the year 1983. The HP-150 was equipped with a grid of infrared beams embedded into the front of the display and capable of detecting finger motions. However, the infrared sensors would need to be cleaned occasionally because they would attract dust.
The decade of the nineties saw the introduction of touch technology in handheld devices such as cell phones and handheld computers. Apple introduced the Newton personal digital assistant (PDA) in 1993, which featured built-in handwriting recognition software.
During the same year, IBM introduced the Simon, the world’s first smartphone, which featured a notepad, calendar, and fax function besides a touch interface that enabled users to dial phone numbers. With the Pilot series, Palm joined the personal digital assistant (PDA) market in 1996 and pioneered touch display technology.
Microsoft’s foray into the realm of touch technology was officially inaugurated in 2002 with the launch of the Windows XP Tablet version.
One could say that the rise in popularity of smartphones was the defining feature of the 2000s. Touch technology was used exclusively in Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007, quickly becoming the industry standard for smartphones.
Advantages of Touchscreens Tech
1. Highly user-friendly to everyone of all ages, including those with disabilities.
Since most individuals own smartphones and tablets, they have a basic understanding of how these technologies work. If you are not used to touching displays, do not worry; the learning curve is not steep.
When you need to find something specific, all you have to do is tap the screen. Some panels are also availing an on-screen keyboard search option to better the experience.
2. Takes up less space and takes away bulk created by buttons
Touch technology is an electronic flat panel that resembles modern televisions in many ways. Because of their lightweight and slim profile, they can be easily concealed behind existing walls. The box “old-school” directories are much more space-consuming than even the largest digital display kiosks in shopping malls. They also tend to consume less power than traditional backlit directories.
Instead of utilizing a keyboard and a mouse, a touch display can be used instead. A keyboard and a mouse are unnecessary because the touch features and apps can be accessed by simply touching the appropriate locations. Because there is no need for these extra components, the gadget may be moved around with less hassle.
In addition, using a touch device is a breeze. You can make the buttons any size you like, and the menus are easily accessible. Touch displays are tremendously helpful for people with disabilities because they allow them to perform the same tasks that others take for granted with much less effort.
3. Easier to keep clean
Touch devices feature smooth, flat panels, which simplifies cleaning them. In general, less dust will accumulate on devices that do not require a keyboard. In addition, the function of the computer mouse, which is a gadget with many nooks and crannies that are difficult to clean, is removed. Because it is wireless, the touch displays reduce the clutter of tangled power lines that would usually be found behind the desk.
Cleaning the screen’s sides and front to eliminate smudges and fingerprints is essential to regular maintenance.
There will be a lot of interaction with touch panels today. If you use a trusted screen cleaner, you can easily remove unwanted smudges and fingerprints.
After spraying, wipe down the surface with a clean, soft cloth. Apart from a brief dusting on the tops and sides, this is the only “housekeeping” upkeep they require after installation.
The devices that contain keypads are more likely to become damaged, reducing durability. For example, a keypad or keyboard is comprised of individual keys and associated circuits, any one of which has the potential to break or malfunction as a result of crumbs, dirt, water damage etc.
Touch displays, on the other hand, contain fewer moving parts and so are easier to safeguard than other types of displays. Thus, it is evident that touch displays have the potential to have a longer product life than conventional monitors and computer systems.
5. Renders keyboards and mice redundant
The conventional computer keyboard and mouse can be dispensed following the touchscreen evolution. In their absence, the touch panels’ functionality and the programs it runs can be accessed directly by tapping regions of the screen. The absence of a keyboard and mouse makes it much simpler to move the device and take it from one location to another.
6. Improved accessibility
The use of touch displays improves accessibility, making it less tiring on a user’s fingers. Those who have trouble using a keyboard or a mouse can still use this technology. Touch displays, for example, typically do an excellent job of organizing information in a way that is easy for the visually handicapped to understand.
Touch technology also allows consumers with disabilities who have trouble communicating or waiting in long lines to access information quickly and at their own pace. And because touch surface interfaces are typically so intuitive, even those with no prior computer expertise may pick one up and start using it with little to no guidance.
In some cases, icons can be easier to discern than text, making them more accessible to people with visual impairments.
7. Saving Time
Multiple companies now provide self-service options via touch surface kiosks, drastically increasing client throughput. Customers use these self-service kiosks for quick transactions, including making bill payments, buying movie tickets, and checking account balances.
And while businesses save money by not having to hire, pay, and train as many people to work there, other consumers enjoy shorter lines and wait times.
8. Offers reality-based interaction
One of the advantages of this technology is that it allows users to engage with their electronics more directly and organically. The touch technology allows for a more natural and simpler interaction than traditional computers, which require various input devices.
Future of Touchscreen Tech
1. The future may be touchless
Touch panels on our smartphones and other mobile devices make information accessible 24/7. Not only are they ubiquitous on our devices, but they have also recently become standard in public spaces like airports, factories, and transportation hubs.
Touch displays have improved many of our products and streamlined financial transactions. Fear of the technology has spread like wildfire since the outbreak. The problem can be remedied by upgrading to a touchless system.
2. Predictive touch technology is being explored
Thanks to a new patented technique created by the University of Cambridge experts, the goal of developing a predictive technology is now being met. This innovation is known as predictive touch. It uses sensor data and AI to anticipate the user’s intended target and make the selection in advance of the user’s actual touch. This innovation will prevent disease transmission by preventing the public from touching displays.
Though we might not give it much thought, we use many touch displays daily. The automated teller machine, the self-checkout register, the parking meter, and the ticket vending machine. Touch panels like these will protect us from mild illnesses long after the pandemic has ended.
Using the touch display in your car will be less of a distraction now that Jaguar Land Rover and the University of Cambridge have developed predictive touch technology. The technology was shown to cut down on interaction time with the screen by as much as 50 percent. This allows the driver to keep their focus on the road.
QR codes are readable by optical recognition systems as well. Among the many potential applications, one is a more engaging shopping experience achieved by scanning product codes into a computer.
4. Touch walls for laboratories and hospitals
Expanding capabilities come with the advancement of touch technology. At first, one touch on a touch display was equivalent to a mouse click. These days, it is not uncommon for touch displays to have the capability of supporting multi-touch gestures, substantially expanding the usefulness of the devices.
The development of touch walls is one manifestation of the proliferation of touch panels. You can only find these cutting-edge gadgets in universities, upscale corporate settings, laboratories, and museums.
Optical recognition has been developed to advance touch display technology further. The technology uses an infrared light source and the standard white backlight to assist the camera in seeing what is contacting the touch surface.
An intricate algorithm is then used to decipher the image. Optical recognition technology can see things not physically contacting the glass, such as a user’s wrist, which paves the way for even more intelligent software.
The history of the touchscreen is fascinating, the benefits are endless, and the future is exciting.