You skate your fingertips over a screen and immediately the device executes a command – this kind of technology is the stuff of science fiction. Yet it is real, and very much within your grasp.
The touch screen was invented by a man named Sam Hurst, a professor in the University of Kentucky, to speed up the process of checking and grading. The touch screen of a device allows the user to use her fingers to physically interface with that device. Using a touch screen is easy and relaxing because the technology is intuitive and smooth. Cell phone buttons represent several functions and repeated pressing brings up the letter and number you want. With touch screen technology, the need for constant button punching is eliminated. People receive an efficient user experience with the touch screen which makes keyboards, buttons and ball mice seem very restrictive and obsolete.
There are many different types of touch screen. Cell phones generally use two types. The first is the resistive touch screen, the one created by Sam Hurst and which is used in most touch screen devices. Known as the 5 wire resistive touch screen, it works by detecting pressure on the screen. Cell phones such as the Nokia 5530 uses resistive touch screen.
iPhones use the capacitative touch screen, which has circuits in the corner of the screen which measures the capacitance of the fingers to determine the coordinates of the touch. It does not depend on the pressure of the finger, but on its ability to conduct electricity. Non-conducting styluses will not work on the capacitative touch screen.
Nowadays, there are all-in-one touch screen computers that combine the computer, monitor and keyboard, creating an efficient system perfect for restaurants and information systems. There are touch screen pedestal kiosks which serve as information directories and customer self service terminals. There are even touch screens on ATM machines.
Touch screen phones are just one more way in which the technology has been integrated into our lives. Nowadays, functioning without a cell phone is almost impossible. From being a status symbol only the very rich can afford, cell phones have penetrated all markets and all income groups. Cell phones aren’t just used for talking to people – they can now be used for texting, emailing, viewing and editing documents and instant messaging. The high end ones have QWERTY keyboards which allow people to write text messages easily. In addition to that, they can take pictures and videos, store and play music, and browse the internet. Most cell phones have an alarm clock and torch light, and built in applications such as calculator and stopwatch.
The IPhone, Apple’s groundbreaking touch screen phone, is extremely user friendly. The menus can be brushed aside and pinching the screen allows users to zoom in on pictures. It is capable of multi touch and there are thousands of applications that users can download. The iPhone is one of the best smart phones around. The most recent addition to the iPhone line, the iPhone 3GS, has received rave reviews and the iPhone continues to top the charts in the touch screen smartphone category. The HTC Hero reaches up to a close second spot but is beaten down for its intermittent sluggishness.
Other brands such as Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and LG have also come out with their own touch screen phones. They may not be on the level of an IPhone or a Hero, but they provide a good enough touch screen experience. Now Google has finally launched the Nexus One – deemed as an IPhone killer, which is said to be a groundbreaking gadget featuring extremely fast processing speeds and the latest Android. It seems that the myriads of touch screen phones that are emerging in market at jaw dropping pace, the old keypad cellphones are one the verge of extinction.