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Most of us have used smart device screens using multi touch technology. The proliferation of such screens is such that they are no longer limited to small device screens anymore. More and more businesses are using large screens with multi touch technology to help promote their range of products and services. Large format touch screens can now be found in hospitals, sales centers, trade shows, classrooms and even small to medium sized retail stores.
Multi touch screens are very useful, being able to recognize many simultaneous touches at once as well as numerous gestures which are then translated to data input or instructions. However, device screens and monitors were not always this useful; device screens and monitors started quite modestly and only developed mainly as a response to consumer demands.
The earliest types of device screens and monitors were exactly that – screens designed solely for the purpose of displaying content. The earliest mobile device screens were even monochrome. Even smart phone screens, however used monochrome screens at the start.
As to touch screen technology itself, the earliest touch screen was of the capacitive type, and was developed way back in the 1960’s in the UK. However, the technology was so expensive and there were no devices to use them on; mobile phone technology was at its infancy and the internet had not yet been developed. Capacitive touch screen are also offered at this site.
The first smart phone with a touch screen was a prototype from IBM called Simon which could send faxes and emails, aside from making regular calls. It was also outfitted with apps that became standard features of personal digital assistants (PDA’s): address book, calculator, world time, note pad, and appointment scheduler. It was introduced in 1992 and was of the single touch type. For a long while, single touch phone and monitor screens ruled – at the time majority of the smart devices and monitors had ordinary viewing screens.
But as technology advanced, the touch screen was forced to follow. The monochrome touch screens became colored and the image definition was refined. But that was not all it required. Wireless internet was getting more accessible for smart devices to connect to, leading to a need to better manage screen content manipulation and input. Using a stylus or bare fingers to touch the screen at only one point at a time was becoming too slow.
At about this time touch screens with the ability to recognize touches at multiple points and even gestures were developed. Suddenly input of data and instruction became much easier; even manipulating the screen content was improved. With gestures the user can expand, contract, rotate images. Other gestures allowed opening and closing of applications, folders and files, etc. The initial awkwardness of not feeling a physical screen was helped by shortcuts enabled through touches and gestures.
This is where we are at the moment, but organizations like the Computer and Communications Industry Association are always looking for new technological improvements. One of the exciting new touch screen technology under development will give us the ability to ‘feel’ things in mid-air – such as the touch keypad. Now that will take touch screen technology to even higher levels.
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