written by: George Garza•edited by: Brian Nelson•updated: 5/25/2011
Touch Screen Monitors are a new way of interacting with programs on a computer. Windows 7 has provided an enhanced way of using the monitor to make access to the programs easier. This will not replace the keyboard or mouse but it can be used as a substitute. The hardware technology lets this occur.
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The touchscreen has two operational features. First, one can interact directly with the content displayed on the device, instead of indirectly by using a cursor controlled by a mouse ortouch pador some other intermediatedevice that would need to be held in the hand.
Secondly, the technology displays can be attached to computer screens, or to networks via terminals. Touch technology plays a significant role in thedesignof smaller digital appliances like a personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices (GPS), mobile phones, and even video games.
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The resistive system has a standard glass panel covered with two metallic layers, one conductive and one resistive. Microdot spacers separate the two layers. Finally, a scratch-resistant layer is added above the glass screen for protection.
A charge from an electrical current makes the touch system dynamic. While the monitor is on, the current passes through the two layers. As the user touches the screen, the two layers make contact at that spot.
The contact point now makes a change in the electrical field. The coordinates of the contact pointare calculated by the CPU. Now the final stage takes place. A software driver will convert the coordinates into a form that the operating system can recognize. This is similar to the process used by a computer mouse driver when a mouse's movements in a drag or a clickare put on the screen.
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Surface Acoustic Wave
The technology of the surface acoustic wave system is different from the other two. Here, two transducers, a sending and receiving. Theyare placedalong themonitor's coordinate axes of the glass plate.
Reflectors also end up on the glass plate. The electrical signals sent from one transducerare reflectedback to the other. The receiving transducer will be able todeterminewhether thesignalwas disturbedby a touch event at any instant, and canfinditimmediately. This is the technology that is used on Windows 7.
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In the capacitive system, there is only one layer. It stores the electrical charge on the glass panel of the monitor. As the user touches themonitorwith a finger,chargeis transmittedto the user, making thecharge on the capacitivelayerlower. This lower levelis measuredin circuits located at each four corners of the monitor. The computer calculates, given therelativedifferences in the electrical charge at each corner, the exact spot where thetoucheventoccurred. It then relays that information to the touch-screen driver software.
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Why Microsoft Pursued Touch Screen Technology
Touch technology is not new to Windows. However, the Windows 7 features extend it to all areas of the PC.To make it more user friendly, the taskbar and start menu now have larger, fingertip-friendly icons.Many programs also have a touch-ready look and feel. Microsoft has been working with touch technology for years, but with the advent of their newest Operating System, they felt that the time was right to extend this technology to Windows7. The failure of Vista made it more urgent that they show consumers that they were going to be on the cutting edge of this technology. You can read more about touch technology by looking at the Top 10 Touchscreen Monitors.
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Windows7 use touch technology to expand the range of uses that are available on the monitor. The keyboard and mouse technology that have been around for over 30 years are now being challenged in different ways. Touch is one way to get the users to interact with the programs and expand the range of the operating system on the hardware.