How the iPhone Touch Screen works

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

While the rest of the world was marvelling at what a great mobile device the iPhone is, I was intrigued by its touch technology.

HowStuffWorks has an article illustrating its technology. I read it some time ago and I found it again. Should be an interesting read.

[HowStuffWorks: iPhone Touch Screen]

To allow people to use touch commands that require multiple fingers, the iPhone uses a new arrangement of existing technology. Its touch-sensitive screen includes a layer of capacitive material, just like many other touch-screens. However, the iPhone’s capacitors are arranged according to a coordinate system. Its circuitry can sense changes at each point along the grid. In other words, every point on the grid generates its own signal when touched and relays that signal to the iPhone’s processor. This allows the phone to determine the location and movement of simultaneous touches in multiple locations. Because of its reliance on this capacitive material, the iPhone works only if you touch it with your fingertip — it won’t work if you use a stylus or wear non-conductive gloves.

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