Touchscreen Technologies Compared: Resistive, projective capacitive, optical imaging, infrared

Digital transformation in companies is advancing in realizing the benefits of Industry 4.0. This requires new, connected, interactive devices that enable multifunctional, intuitive interfaces. This digital transformation and the ability to access data in real time are driving the continuous evolution of technology-driven innovation to accelerate the deployment of fully automated processes - from commercial kitchens to automotive plants. Accentec Technologies touchscreen and compute product portfolio with its Windows and Android solutions are a key enabler for Industry 4.0. We have created an ecosystem of devices and software specifically designed for seamless collaboration, ensuring optimal communication between systems deployed in enterprises.

Resistive touch technology is used for a wide range of devices such as touch screens and navigation systems in vehicles. Resistive panels are pressure sensitive, in other words, they determine the desired instructions based on the amount of pressure applied directly to the screen.

Resistive touchscreens typically have one touch point and are rarely larger than 20 inches.

Unlike other touch technologies, resistive touch panels are each coated with two transparent electrode foils as well as a spacer pad. Because of this pressure-based input method, resistive panels can be used with just about any type of touch, including fingers, styluses and even gloves.

Thanks to the two transparent film layers on the top of the panel, light transmission is lower than with other types of touch technology. Since pressure has to be applied to the screen, resistive touch panels also do not have the most durable touch panel technology.

Touch with optical imagining

Optical imaging touch technology uses infrared cameras and light to determine the touch input on the screen. The accuracy of touch input with optical imaging touch can vary depending on the components used.

Optical imaging touch panels have multi-touch and a typical size of between 19 and 100 inches. Since touch detection on these devices is via imaging, commands on the screen can be entered using any type of touch, including fingers, styluses, gloves, etc.

Light transmission is usually very good on touchscreens with optical imaging, as there are no inhibiting coatings on the screen itself. In addition, optical touch displays are mostly very durable, as the soft touch associated with this technical variant rarely leads to wear and tear.

Optical touch technology is used frequently for larger touchscreen applications.

Projective capacitive touchscreens

The projective capacitive touch technology is mostly used in the smartphone market. If you use smart phone , it means that you are already familiar with the projective capacitive touch. Projective capacitive touch is typically used for smaller touchscreens and is known for its extremely accurate touch detection and fast response times.

Projective capacitive touch panels are multi-touch capable and are usually smaller than 32 inches.

Because projective capacitive touch screens recognize touch commands using electrical currents, it is significantly easier to manufacture small projective capacitive touch panels than larger models. Unlike resistive touch technology, projective capacitive touch panels can be operated with fingers or conductive styluses, but not with gloves.

The light transmission of projective capacitive touch panels is excellent, as is the accuracy of touch recognition. In addition, the glass and plastic coatings on projective capacitive touch panels are usually very durable and dust-resistant.

Infrared touch technology

Infrared touch technology detects touch commands using an interruption of light beams. In infrared touch displays, the infrared rays are organized as a grid on the screen itself, and touch points are calculated when the rays are interrupted.

Infrared touchscreens are multi-touch capable and come in sizes from 10 to 120 inches. On an infrared touch panel, commands can be entered with fingers, thick pens or gloves, and touch recognition can vary depending on the components installed.

Infrared touch panels usually have good light transmission and are quite durable. However, sunlight can have a negative impact on the user experience with an infrared touchscreen due to glare and reflections.

Examples of industries where touch panel technologies are used:

  • Smart retail and POS

  • Education

  • Industrial use and smart factory

  • Banking and financial services

  • Medical applications

Advantages of Touch Screen Technologies

Since the introduction of touchscreen smartphones, this form of technology has been used almost everywhere. As a result, it is now mastered by anyone. In this regard, the technology offers two advantages: it is easy to implement and faster for employees to use. Thanks to the ease of implementation, employees can use the technology immediately and without a training curve, resulting in faster operation.


Since touch panels can be implemented in so many ways, they offer the opportunity to positively impact the user experience. For instance, they can set your business apart from the competition by delivering engaging content in keeping with the idea of customer interaction.

Self-service function

Touch panels can also benefit customers beyond employee interaction. Because touch panel technology allows customers to self-serve. These features can be as useful for mall or hotel information services as for restaurant food selection - to name just a few areas. As a result, employees have more time to focus on other tasks, while allowing customers to create their own experience.


Touch screens must be designed from the start to withstand ongoing physical interaction. Manufacturers are looking to touch panels to be as durable as possible and to avoid accidental damage.


Non-touch screens often require additional peripherals. By implementing touch technologies, no additional devices are required. In Addition, the faster operation results in a more streamlined work environment.

Increased efficiency

Touch panel technology can increase efficiency in the workplace, for such things as shortening queues. This increased efficiency leads to higher revenues as employees can serve more customers, optimizing the consumer experience.


When you digitize your workflows using touch panel technologies, you can reduce costs by cutting down on office supplies. Touch screens also provide lower storage costs because there are no physical documents to store.

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