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Resistive Touch Screens

Resistive Touch Screens

sound-wave.jpgMany, if not most of the commercial handhelds available today from Motorola, Symbol, Intermec and others use Resistive Touch Screens technology, not to mention most of the older PDA's, e.g. the Palm/Palm Pilot, Compaq & HP iPaq, Sony Clie, etc. From a usability standpoint this technology is the most simple as it reacts to the touch of virtually anything that can generate pressure on the screen.

The way this technology works is fairly simple. It consists of a grid of wires embedded within two sheet of think flexible, resistive plastic. The wires are embedded in a grid creating a series of X-Y axes and hence, a coordinate system. When the sheets are pressed together they create extra resistance to the current flowing through wires in the grid. The particular wires experiencing this "interruption" create an X-Y value, communicating the coordinates to the device.

Another way to think of this is to imagine a series of garden hoses arranged on the ground in a grid. If the water in vertical hose 4 and horizontal hose 7 are stepped on, causing "resistance" in the flow of water, a coordinate of 7,4 could be interpreted, identifying the location of the person stepping on the hose.

Stylus Compatibility

stylus-tips-resistive-saw.jpgBecause resistive touch screens react purely to pressure, almost anything will work, from a plain plastic stylus to a pen cap to a human finger. It becomes more a question of the application. For example...a touch-and-tap application is better served by a rubber-tip stylus, while signature-capture applications work better with a smooth tip stylus that glides easily across the screen.

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