Touchscreens are becoming an integral part of our lives. When we interact with a device that has a touchscreen, we expect it to execute the action we want without a second thought. It wasn’t too far in the past that the concept of a touchscreen was a dream. Yet, today we see it as a common feature in numerous devices.

While most of us use this technology on a daily basis, most of us do not know how it works. How does a screen know what to do when we touch an icon? There are many different types of touchscreen technologies but they all operate based on a similar idea.

Resistive touchscreens

This is the most common and the most inexpensive type of touchscreen technology today. With resistive technology, screens are covered with an electrically conductive layer. Your fingertip causes the electrical current to alter when you touch the screen. The device’s controller receives the data and preforms the action you requested.

Surface wave touchscreen

Another popular type of touchscreen is the surface wave model. This kind of screen utilizes ultrasonic waves that pass over the touchscreen panel. Whenever you touch the panel, you absorb a part of the wave. Again, this sends information to the device’s controller, which in turn tells the unit what you want it to do.

Capacitive touchscreens

Devices that rely on capacitive touchscreens tend to have the sharpest image quality. Capacitive touchscreens are coated with a material that sends a continuous electrical current over the sensor. Fortunately, the human body is also a type of electrical device. Which means that when you touch the screen you absorb some of the current. The device registers this disruption, causing it to send information to its controller. The device will then perform the action which you requested.

Luckily, we don’t have to truly understand the science behind touchscreen technology have fun with it, and we don’t have to be engineers to understand that this technology isn’t going away any time soon.