Touch Terminology

Learn more about Multi-touch

Ambient light

Ambient light

Light in a specific place that can be a combination of natural light such as sunlight and moonlight, as well as any unnatural light such as indoor overhead lights used in commercial or home environments. Ambient light can effect touch performance in certain technologies such as Optical an IR, where the light itself can either cause a false touch or blind cameras or IR sensors such that a touch cannot be determined.

Anti-glare

Anti-glare

An anti-glare screen is designed to cut down on the amount of light that reflects off the LCD display. Reflected light or glare can reduce the view ability of the display by impacting the contrast, colors and sharpness of the display.

The matte finish anti-glare computer screen also has a disadvantage, by scattering the light coming out of the display, resulting in a slightly less-crisp image for the viewer.

A good way to choose between anti-glare finishes is to consider the environment in which you will be using your display. A light anti-glare touch screen may be well-suited for use when there is mostly ambient light that you can control. A heavier anti-glare maybe suited for environments where harsh overhead lighting or changing ambient light conditions are common.

Anti-stiction

Anti-stiction

A surface treatment on the touch glass that enables fingers to glide smoothly across the touch surface improving the overall usability and comfort of using a touch device. Anti-stiction can be achieved either by applying a specialized surface coating or by etching the glass to create a permanent smooth surface.

Basic Touch Gestures

Basic Touch Gestures

Basic one finger gestures made by the user on the touchscreen to initiate a reported touch and response from the application. These gestures are limited to a single touch and typically are found in transactional applications such as self check in kiosk, ATMs, and POS devices. Gestures such as tap, trace, swipe, drag, and flick are considered basic touch gestures.

Border touch

Border touch

A touch feature that enables the touch system to recognize touch points in the black border of its flat front surface integration. This is particularly of interest for capacitive controls such as OSD as well as for new gestures which either initiate on the border and then move into the display viewing area or vice versa.

Chemically Strengthened Glass

Chemically Strengthened Glass

A type of glass that has increased strength as a result of a post-production chemical bathing process. Chemically strengthened glass is typically 4 to 6 times the strength of similar thickness non strengthened float glass.

The glass is chemically strengthened by a surface finishing process. Glass is submersed in a bath containing a potassium salt (typically potassium nitrate) at 300°C. This causes sodium ions in the glass surface to be replaced by potassium ions from the bath solution.

Detect

Detect

Detect is the touch system's ability to recognize the presence, but not necessarily the precise location of a touch event on the touch surface or in the touch field. The ability to detect more than one touch event may enable some technologies to perform events such as gesturing.

Drift

Drift

The term "drift" originated when touch screens were first integrated with CRT monitors. Since the CRT image could shift over time it would appear that the touch screen would lose calibration or "drift." With the industry's change to LCD displays and fixed pixel arrays, image shift is no longer a problem. Also, early generation touch screens utilized materials, components, and integration techniques which could be susceptible to drift, but today’s advanced electronics, improve materials and processes have virtually eliminated the drift phenomenon, a.k.a., calibration drift.

ESD

Electric Static Discharge (ESD)

ESD is the rapid transfer of electrostatic charge between two objects. Depending on the strength of the electrostatic field, the transfer can occur when objects touch or come within a close proximity. ESD can cause damage to electrical components. ESD can be controlled by utilizing a safe dissipation of the field (ground) or prevention of the static build up.

False touch

False touch

Term used to describe a reported touch point that was not initiated or intended by the user. These touches can occur due to the susceptibility a touch technology to environmental factors such as ambient light and debris build up on the touch screen or if a user inadvertently breaks an optical or infrared grid plane. Capacitive based systems eliminate false touches as they require a human connection directly to the touch screen to report and initiate a touch point.

Flat Front Surface

Flat Front Surface

Design feature that allows the touch sensor to integrate smoothly into the monitor housing eliminating the need for a traditional bezel. This type of integration provides a sleek and sophisticated industrial design similar to popular consumer devices like smartphones and tablets. Additionally, without a front bezel to collect dust, dirt and other debris, a flat front surface is easily cleaned and maintains a clean industrial look throughout the life of the touch display.

Ghost touches

Ghost touches

The phenomenon where the touch system itself is unable to fully resolve two simultaneous touch points due to limitations in the technology’s sensing ability. In this situation, where two simultaneous touches are present, the touch system can only recognize four potential touch points (as in a box) and cannot clearly differentiate the actual touch points versus imaginary touch points leading to inaccurate and inadvertent touches.

Glove touch

Glove touch

The ability of a touch technology to recognize a touch input from a gloved finger or fingers. Glove touch can refer to the touch to be recognized while the user is wearing thin gloves such as latex or heavy gloves such as leather work gloves.

Hard Coat

Hard Coat

Hard coat is typically a coating applied to a film or glass substrate for the purpose of improving the surface durability of the product. Film-based hard coats are measured on the "pencil hardness" scale and coatings applied to glass may be measured by the MoHS scale.

Light Transmission

Light Transmission

Light (optical) transmission is the percentage of light that passes through a touch screen from the LCD display or light source. Typical touch screens range from 70% to 92%. All other optical characteristics being equal, higher transmission is better.

Linearization

Linearization

Linearization and calibration are often confused, but each is distinctly different. Linearization is the process of correcting for or improving the performance of a touch screen as a part of the manufacturing process and special equipment is used to reach this accuracy requirement. Under normal conditions linearization should be a one time event.

MoHS

MoHS

MoHS rating is a "scratch hardness" test that is typically associated with minerals or gems. Glass-based touch screens often use this scale to define their resistance to surface scratches. The higher the MOHS rating, the more resistant the material is to surface scratches. The MoHS rating is calculated on a 1 to 10 scale with 10 representing the hardness rating of diamond.

MTBF

MTBF

Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) is a measurement of how reliable a product is. MTBF is typically specified in units of hours; the higher the MTBF, more a product is considered reliable.

Multi-touch

Multi-touch

Ability for the Touch display to recognize three or more simultaneous touches which Allows a user to interact naturally using with images, videos, and other multimedia applications through a natural user interface. Many popular consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets are capable of multi-touch and enable users to interact with content using intuitive gestures. Advanced systems may also include palm rejection.

Multi-touch Gestures

Multi-touch Gestures

Advanced gestures made by the user or multiple users to initiate a set of reported touches that trigger a response from the application. These gestures have become the new standard of touch interactivity due to the surge in popularity of modern consumer devices such as smartphones and tablets. Multi-touch gestures include pinch and expand, zoom, rotate, as well as advanced multi-touch gestures which include several fingers simultaneously touching the screen such as multi-finger drag (2, 3, 4, 5 finger), multi- finger drag, and multi-finger flick.

Multi-user

Multi-user

Multi-users is a touch screen environment where multiple users can utilize the same touch system simultaneously. In a multi-user environment it may or may not be required that the individual be identified with a particular on-screen event.

Natural User Interface

Natural User Interface

Natural user interface or NUI is the common parlance used by designers and developers of human-machine interfaces to refer to a user interface that is effectively invisible, or becomes invisible with successive learned interactions, and is based on nature or natural elements. NUI seeks to leverage skills people gain through traditional physical interaction and translate those skills to human-machine interfaces.

Object recognition

Object recognition

This is the ability of the touch device or touch technology to sense and recognize an inanimate object or totem that is physically placed on the touch screen. This feature has been pioneered by Microsoft Corporation’s Microsoft Surface product.

Optically Bonded

Optically Bonded

A type of touch system integration where the touch sensor is adhered directly to the LCD with transparent optically clear adhesive (OCA). This type of integration eliminates the air gap between the touch sensor and LCD thus improving the optical performance by increasing the contrast ratio of the touch display while increases overall durability of the touch surface. Optically bonding can reduce parallax and improve transmission resulting in increase preciseness of the touch and better visual performance.

Palm Rejection

Palm Rejection

The ability of a touch technology to "reject" or ignore the presence of a palm during the natural interaction with a touch device. Palm rejection allows the user to work freely on the touch surface without registering inadvertent touches when resting a hand or palm on the screen, such as when drawing on the screen with a stylus or interacting with multiple users in a table orientation.

Parallax

Parallax

The phenomenon that occurs as a result of the touch screen being a certain distance away from the LCD where as the touch point itself appears to be inaccurate or not precise. Ways to minimize the parallax phenomenon include moving the touch screen closer to the LCD surface to minimize the “air gap” between the touch screen and the LCD or by optically bonding the touch screen to the LCD with an optically clear adhesive. Optically bonding eliminates any air gap between the touch screen and the LCD and as a result reduces parallax.

Pen Input

Pen Input

Pen input refers to a touch screen's capability to accept input from an active pen or inactive (dumb) stylus. Active pen technology may be "driven," where a signal is injected into the touch system, or grounded where a signal is drawn from the screen. The most common active type of pen is the electromagnetic type found in tablet devices.

Pencil Hardness

Pencil Hardness

Pencil hardness is determined by a "scratch hardness" test that uses pencils of various hardnesses to determine a surface's ability to resist scratching. A rating of 9H is highest value of the Pencil Hardness scale. This test is often used to determine the rating of resistive touch screens and other film- or surface-coated materials.

Privacy Film

Privacy Film

A film that goes either in the actual touch screen construction or on top of the glass that limits the viewing angle of the touch display to 60 degrees and is intended to limit the view to one single user. This application is preferred in financial and heath care applications where important financial or health information needs to be protected from potential fraud.

Resolve

Resolve

Resolve is the touch system’s ability to determine the precise location of a touch event on the touch surface or in the touch field.

Second Surface Touch

Second Surface Touch

This refers to a non-active layer of glass or other substrate that protects the critical touch components adhered the backside of the non-active layer. This type of construction allows for greater durability due to the user not interacting directly with the critical components and it is typically found only on projected capacitive touch systems.

Single Touch

Single Touch

Ability for the Touch display to recognize a single touch point which allows the user to make menu selections in a transactional manner.

Soda Lime Glass

Soda Lime Glass

The most popular type of glass typically used for a wide variety of applications. Soda-lime glass is prepared by melting the raw materials, such as sodium carbonate (soda), lime, dolomite, silicon dioxide (silica), aluminum oxide (alumina), and small quantities of fining agents in a glass furnace.

Stylus independence

Stylus independence

Term used to describe the ability of a touch system to recognize and report a touch from virtually any object such as finger, pen, car key, gloved finger and prosthetic. This allows the user interacting with the touch system additional flexibility.

Surface

Surface

Microsoft® Surface™ is a multi-touch/multi-user system that responds to natural hand gestures and real-world objects, helping people interact with digital content in a simple and intuitive way. With a large, horizontal user interface, Surface offers a unique gathering place where multiple users can collaboratively and simultaneously interact with data and each other.

Tactile Feedback

Tactile Feedback

Refers to the ability of the touch device to provide user physical feedback through a vibration or set of vibrations created by an actuator when a touch is inputted and received. This interaction mimics the tactile feel of an actual mechanical button or switch and provides the user additional confirmation that their touch was accepted by the touch device.

Tempered Glass

Tempered Glass

A type of glass that is strengthened by a reheating process in which the glass is reheated just below the melting point and then suddenly cooled. This process makes tempered glass approximately 3-5 times stronger than standard float glass. When tempered glass is shattered, it breaks into small pieces. Additionally, tempered glass cannot be cut after tempering.

Touch accuracy

Touch accuracy

A measurement of the precision to true touch position versus actual reported position. This is typically described in percent format where 100% is ideal.

Touch first Device

Touch first Device

This refers to the growing trend of the public that come to expect all display devices and controls are to be touch enabled. The rapid adoption of smartphone an tablet devices has increased the familiarity with touch technology, and has had a large impact on the way users expect to interact with technology.

Touch Latency

Touch Latency

The term used for a delayed touch response where as the cursor or icon lags the point on the touchscreen where the actual touch is reported. This is particularly noticeable when gesturing a finger across the touchscreen in a draw program, where the reported touch can be seen up to 2-3 inches behind the actual touch. Causes for latency vary, however, it is important to understand that touch response is not only limited to the touch system response time, but rather driver delay, operating system delay, software rendering time, and graphics card delay all heavily contribute to touch performance and associated latency.

Touch Response Time

Touch Response Time

Time it takes for the touch system to register and report a touch through the controller to the touch screen. This provides immediate visual feedback to the user on how realistic the touch interaction feels. A slow response time makes the touch interaction feel awkward and unrealistic, however, a fast response time makes the touch interaction feel more natural and can increase overall user satisfaction.

Touch Sensor

Touch Sensor

The touch surface that is integrated in front of the LCD which accepts touch input. The sensor is typically made out of glass or PET. Touch electronics are also required with the touch sensor to create a touch system and for the touch display to sense and process touches.

Touch System

Touch System

A combination of a touch sensor and touch electronics that create a fully integrated system capable of sensing and processing touch points. A mated design of a touch system is designed to maximize performance of the sensor and electronics by having them function as a single unit as opposed to non-mated touch sensor and electronics which may need to be manually calibrated to optimize performance.

Transmission

Transmission

In the context of discussing touch screens, this refers to the amount of light that passes through the touch screen substrate from the LCD which has an impact on the visual appearance of the touch device. If the touch screen has a high transmission, more light from the LCD passes through the touch substrate and it maintains a brighter and more robust color as compared to a touch screen with a lower transmission. Transmission is measured in percentage of light transmissed and a higher transmission percentage is preferred.

Two-touch/Dual Touch

Two-touch/Dual Touch

Ability for the Touch display to recognize two independent touch points which allows a user basic gesture performance while interacting with images, videos, and other multimedia applications.

Video Alignment

Video Alignment

Video alignment is performed during the integration of the touch screen to the display. This process compensates for the variability in touch screen placement during the integration and helps compensate for x and y placement and skew.

Wake on touch

Wake on touch

Ability of the touch device to actively enter into a sleep mode when not in use, but once the screen is touched will wake up and be ready for use.

Windows 7 AQ

Windows 7 AQ

This refers to Microsoft Corporation’s certification or logoing program specifically designed to evaluate the performance of touch devices, including touch monitors for use based on a set of criteria designed to optimize performance with its Windows 7 operating system. This performance evaluation done by Microsoft can result in either an approval for the touch device to be used with Windows 7 or not. In the result where the operating system is approved for use, the device will become Microsoft Windows 7 AQ Certified.