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Projected Capacitive Touchscreens

Commonly used in everything from smartphones to monitors, projected capacitive (PCAP) touchscreens are a versatile and durable touchscreen technology.

In our previous blog, we talked about the different kinds of resistive touchscreens and how they compare. While resistive screens offer a high level of versatility, another one of the most widely used touchscreen varieties is the projected capacitive touchscreen. Below, we’ll be discussing the key features and advantages that make projected capacitive technology such a popular touchscreen option.

 What are Projected Capacitive (PCAP) Touchscreens?

In contrast to resistive touchscreens, projected capacitive touchscreens don’t require any physical pressure to activate. Instead, they rely on projecting a capacitive field through the display. Electrical impulses from the human body disrupt this field when the cover glass is touched. PCAP touchscreens have grown immensely in popularity over the last several years and are primarily used in smartphones, monitors, and any other device that requires both durability and precision.

 Advantages of PCAP Touchscreens

Originally thought of as expensive and unreliable, the technology for projected capacitive touchscreens has consistently improved. Over the years, the cost of manufacturing has come down significantly enough to rival that of many resistive options. Input sensitivity of PCAP touch screens have advanced to the point where they can tune out dust, oil, grease, gels, and other agents, while still effectively gauging user input. This makes them ideal for industries where high cleanability and input precision is required.

Since the input is just a disruption to the capacitive field, PCAP screens allow for multi-touch functionality, such as zooming, rotating, and more. However, due to the reliance on electrical impulses for input, there are limits to what can be used to activate it. The sensitivity can be tuned to register styluses and gloves, but the item used must disrupt the capacitive field. This may be less ideal than resistive touchscreens for certain applications, where it may be necessary to use other objects to input information.

Since PCAP touchscreens do not rely on separate panels making contact, damage to the cover glass or acrylic generally won’t affect user input, making them durable enough to handle nearly infinite activations. Because of their construction, PCAP touchscreens also display an extremely high-clarity image. Since the layers are bonded together with optically clear adhesive (as opposed to with an air gap between layers as with resistive touchscreens), the displayed image has a high level of light transmission. Coupled with rarely losing calibration, they are durable and precise throughout their lifespan.

Ultimately, the decision to use either a resistive or projected capacitive touchscreen comes down to the application. Regardless of what type of user interface system you’re looking for, Boyd’s experts can help you find the perfect touchscreen for your next product. Find out more by setting up a consultation with our experts.

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