In recent years, all consumer electronics operations have relied on keyboard technology. Few decades ago, it's hard to believe that touchscreen technology was only found in science fiction (sci-fi) movies and books, but with increase in advancements in technology, touchscreen technology was created and implemented. Today, touchscreen technology is used everywhere and especially in our daily lives today. For example, this technology is used in smartphones, tablets, watches, cars, homes, and other electronic devices. It is used everywhere such as airplanes, restaurants, stores, wherever it fills our lives in public and private spaces. As touchscreen technology has become mainstream today, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that house displays are now faced with expectations. Compared to other computers, touch screens are unique in that they handle both input and output: the interpretation of user actions while viewing a graphical screen. They allow the user to interact directly with what is on the screen, unlike a mouse which moves the cursor. In theory, this is a faster layout as the pointer doesn't require to move across the screen between different objects. Touchscreens can also come with a number of features that increase their functionality.

History of Touchscreen

In 1965, Eric A. McCarthy had invented the first touch screen. This invention is called a capacitive touchscreen, which uses an insulator. For this touchscreen, it has been used an insulator, glass coated transparent conductor such as tin oxide and indium. Here, the user’s finger act as conductor and interrupts the capacitance of the conducting layer. In more easy terms, touching the screen causes a change in the electric charge that the computer senses. 

In 1970’s, another design came into the existence and it is called resistive touch screen. This touch screen was discovered by an American inventor, scientist, health physicist and educator Dr. G. Samuel Hurst. He and along with his two colleagues discovered this design while studying atomic physics with a van de Graaff generator that accumulated and released an electric charge. They had coordinated their analysis using electroconductive paper, completing their experiments in a few hours.

In 1983, Hewlett-Packard released the HP-150, which is also called as the HP touchscreen. The included device used a new system for tactile input with an infrared emitter and detector grid on the monitor's bezel. When infrared rays are obstructed, the HP-150 can detect where the user has touched the screen. However, this system has some drawbacks that are: Dust enters the infrared pores, which requires vacuuming. The design was not ergonomic, users complained of muscle fatigue, or the "Gorilla Arm" could not extend their arm and did not support it for long. In 1984, when the HP Touchscreen II was introduced, the touchscreen was optional and it had rarely added.

Pilot is the most popular series of touchscreen devices and it had discovered by Palm Computing in 1996.This technology had become a staple in the business world, improving on many of the features of the Apple Newton. In fact, Palm Pilot's handwriting recognition was so successful that it was eventually used in Newton's models.

It was around two decades that the touchscreen really started to come into the public eye. Fingerworks used its research in order to develop the first multi-touch gesture-based products. Most of these are computer accessories such as keyboards with "zero-force" keys, exploring new ways of input. Like the Apple Newton, these products are new, but expensive. Products such as TouchStream LP, iGesture Pad and MacNTouch were well received, but not widely used outside of disabled users. In 2005, Fingerworks announced that they were out of business, but continued to file and process patents in 2007.

The release of the original iPhone in 2007 revolutionized the phone industry, replacing the physical dialling pad with a touchscreen. Smartphones have become the number one communication tool and with them this new investment style have been come up. The iPhone’s touchscreen dialling pad allow users to switch between keyboard, video, games, and countless other apps. The phone is a step ahead of BlackBerry’s previous flagship technology, which had a full physical keyboard. With the iPhone, the capacitive touchscreen is a new feature for the consumer market: multi-touch. Apple privileges allowed to invented this technology, but they accepted Fingerworks to help develop and popularize the iPhone. The new smartphone's multi-touch capabilities add more functions than those found on single-touch devices. 

In 2010, the Apple iPad was released, generating another market for touchscreen devices. The first truly mainstream tablet was clearly before the iPhone, and its release touched on a speech by Steve Jobs in 1983. Touchscreens are not only used in mobiles, but they are used in portable computers.

Roadmap of Touchscreen

Development of Touchscreens 

The mass adoption of capacitive touch (or p-cap) technology, for smartphones and tablets, has created a major demand for large format in various commercial applications such as digital signage, industrial and point of sale (POS), to be interactive, and this is where technology has really come into its own.
Scaling up capacitive touch sensors to close to 100” in diameter is not an easy task, which means that there should be an innovation, creating new manufacturing techniques, advanced controller electronics, and interactive devices in order to deliver the same responsiveness consumers expect from their handheld interactive devices.

After more than 20 years of developing and manufacturing p-cap touch sensors, there has been introduction of ZyTouch, a hot-laminated, and initially one-touch solution, that remains the toughest, most durable touchscreen on the market. Over the next decade researchers have developed proprietary “cold lamination” manufacturing technique, that allows the development of tactile sensors made from a single glass substrate (ZyBrid®) that is tough and durable. It was during this time that talented research and development (R&D) team was hard at work advancing touch controller technology to aid unique touch sensors, and in 2011 researchers had introduced first multitouch controller and sensor, offering the same durable and customizable alternative to the standard ZyBrid , but with true multitouch capabilities (up to 40 simultaneous touch points)

Types of Touchscreens

In addition to the resistive and capacitive touchscreens, there are other touchscreen technologies that have been listed below:

Infrared (optical touchscreen): Optical touchscreens use an infrared emitter combined with an infrared image sensor in order to continuously scan the touchscreen. When an object comes in contact with the screen, it blocks some of the infrared light that the sensor receives. Then based on sensor input and mathematical triangulation, the contact location is calculated. The optical touch screen offers high transmittance and supports multi-touch interaction. As they use infrared sensors instead of conductivity, they can operate through any type of material, such as a plastic stylus.

surface acoustic waves: By tracking ultrasound waves, these screens recognize the location of points on the screen. They consist of piece of glass, a transmitter, and two piezoelectric receivers. The ultrasonic waves generated by the transmitter move on the screen, reflect, and are then read by the receiving piezoelectric receivers. When touching the glass surface, some of the sound waves are absorbed, but some bounces back and is detected by piezoelectric receivers. As acoustic touchscreens have high transmittance and long life, they are often used when more rugged displays are required such as casinos and arcades, bank ATMs, and medical facilities.

Near-Field Imaging (NFI): NFI touchscreens work by sensing disturbances in the electromagnetic field. As a person's finger moves across the screen, it affects the change in the electric field on the glass. The NFI screen is quite rugged, suitable for military and other extreme operating environments. They can detect touch with any object such as a pen or stylus, and even a gloved hand.

Electromagnetic Guidance: An electromagnetic guidance touchscreen sends out an electrical charge that reacts with a special stylus. The stylus sends a signal that lets the touchscreen to accurately identify its position using the electromagnetic induction sensor under the liquid crystal screen. This kind of display is able to respond to high-precision operation unlike capacitive touchscreens, although it only works in conjunction with a specified stylus.

Ultra-thin touchscreen film: Australian based RMIT University researchers have used liquid metal chemistry in order to shrink 3D touchscreen film down to virtually 2 dimensions. The nano-thin, ultra-flexible electronic material could be printed and rolled out like newspaper for the touchscreens of the future.

Spray-on touchscreen: Carnegie Mellon University based scientists have developed a spray called Electrick—that’s composed of an electrically conductive carbon-based material. If it is sprayed onto an object, it enables the object to conduct electricity, which can then be measured in order to track the movement of a user’s finger. The spray can be applied to multiple surfaces such as plastics, furniture, jelly and many others.

Wearable Touchscreen: As if touchscreen jelly wasn’t sufficient, Levi Strauss & Co has partnered with Google in order to develop ‘smart denim’. The first concept garment produced will be a jacket with conductive fibres woven into the left cuff, making it touch sensitive. The touch inputs are sent to the user’s phone through a Bluetooth cufflink. 

The current level of penetration of capacitive touch means they’re being used in almost all smartphone and tablet technology – and the quality is improving with each iteration. Resistive touch screens will soon be a thing of the past as manufacturers have never had better access to low-cost touch technology, with impressive TFT displays that are perfect for use in kiosk displays, instrumentation and navigation devices. 

Haptic feedback, which provides vibration and other tactile stimuli when the screen is in use, is one area where touch is projected to improve. It is expected that users will eventually be able to 'feel' items and textures on a touchscreen, increasing overall usability.

It must be acknowledged that touch technology will likely be disrupted by the rise of virtual reality and hologram tech, but the reliability and user friendliness that the touch screen provides will be the baseline technology rather than replacing it. The excitement of innovation may transfer to VR, but touch remains the dominant format for wearable and personal technology.

For manufacturers, the key focus should be on the quality of the display and to introduce touch technology wherever possible. Users have come to expect touch as a minimum requirement and this is projected to escalate as time goes on. In the recent years, even young children are using touch when they encounter a screen. They are the next generation, and prove the need for touch as a baseline in all screens. It is expected that there will be high demand for touchscreen in almost every device. 

Adoption of Biometric Technology 

Biometrics is a technique that is used to measure and analyse an individual’s unique physical or behavioural characteristics and self-characteristics such as fingerprints, facial geometry, iris patterns and others. In biometrics, fingerprint scanners are the most common technology used for biometric authentication. Biometric authentication is performed on-site with the adoption of mobile devices being the main trend. Many verticals such as government, retail, finance, manufacturing information technology, and other industries are adopting biometric authentication. The pace of biometric technology adoption and expansion across all user domains and market sectors should continue. Many types of biometrics are used for authentication in the public and private sectors. Still, the fingerprint biometric technology is most common, being used in settings as diverse as McDonald’s for employee cash register access, Bank of America for ATM transactions, and also many campus retailers for authentication purchases. From identifying workers to in-store purchases, more and more organizations are using the advantages of biometric technology in order to identify those with access to their systems. However, adoption of mobile devices is increasing, there will be huge demand for biometric technology. For instance, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab mobile device, equipped with iris recognition technology for device access as well as banking, education, and healthcare.

Increase in adoption of Biometrics Adoption in Industries

In recent years, Biometrics has become a brand icon for human identity. Biometrics is also characterized by the application of technology which involves unique human identifiers such as fingerprints, retina, or voice, to make the process of identification simple and painless. But adoption of fingerprint biometrics technology has increased and is a big part of that.

Healthcare: The healthcare sector is expected to grow in the near future with the adoption of biometric devices that will help in reducing the administrative workload and focus on detailed and thorough insights of patients and their past records. Innovation in this area is primarily driven by government initiatives in order to support the implementation of biometrics in healthcare facilities due to the increase in health care fraud and medical identity theft.
Biometrics will allow operations, such as opening hospital doors, e-prescribing of controlled substances, accessing health records and interaction of healthcare professionals with patients and logging their activities, and many others.

Banking: Financial institutions are looking forward to improve the simplicity of banking and the user experience involved. Over the past few years, globally, we have seen ATMs move away from PINs and have adopted fingerprint technology for transactions. Large banks are offering customers the option of using fingerprints, voice, retina scans and other biometric technologies combined with device recognition in the background, where instead of a password, an encrypted token is sent from the device in order to access their bank accounts. Convenience for consumers and better security in this time of massive data breaches is driving the switch. Fingerprint scanning has developed as the most popular and widely used form of biometric authentication.

Retail: Online retailing offers opportunities to identify, understand and engage customers with all kinds of data and analytics that help retailers for better understanding their customers and their behavioural patterns. Adoption of biometric technologies in this sector is ensuring customer purchasing patterns, which directly helps in stock maintenance and provides customized services at all times along with adding relevant data on the customer for future cross-sell and upsell opportunities and personalizing services. User-friendly display devices such as kiosks have become popular among consumers visiting retail outlets, with touchscreens being the most preferred interface. The interface is tailored to the user's needs for better functionality. From a salesperson's perspective, customers are offered convenient promotions, product suggestions, and fast service, while staff receive notifications, which enable them to contact and assist shoppers faster.

Educational Institutions: Adoption of touch screen technology in early childhood educational institutions has also become popular. Particularly, touch screen technology such as interactive whiteboards and tablet computing devices has potential for use within early childhood educational institutions.

Personal computers are considered to be widespread in educational institutions such as schools and universities adopt WIMP (Windows, Icons, Mouse, and Pull-down menus) user interface. User input is provided through a keyboard and mouse or trackpad/trackball device for devices such as laptops and netbooks. In recent years, there has been a change in the paradigm of computing device user interfaces, in particular how users provide input to these devices. This new form of interaction is known as a gestural, or ‘natural’ interface and involves the user providing input to the device by using their fingers to create single and multiple touch gestures on the screen. This form of user interface is relatively new, and in educational settings its use has been typified by technology such as tablet computing devices, herein known simply as ‘tablets’, and interactive whiteboards. It is believed that touchscreen technology is becoming the dominant ‘learning vehicle’ in schools, with early childhood educational institutions now steadily making the transition as well.

In addition to the industries mentioned above, biometrics is gaining a foothold in a lot of other sectors such as:

• Educational institutions where the focus has been on providing a more secure environment to the students
• IoT where intelligent automated systems are combined with biometrics
• Workforce management where attendance and productivity are better monitored through the use of biometrics and
• Travel industry, where airlines are combining different technologies for faster check-ins, faster check-outs & baggage, immigration services using facial recognition to validate identity etc.

It is significant to examine three main factors driving industries towards adoption of biometrics technology. Globalization has been a key driving factor in the adoption of these technologies. There is a growing need for the transaction experience to be simple, smooth and secure. Secondly, the requirement for the prevention of identity theft is critical for the adoption of biometric technology across national identification programs worldwide, thereby introducing the technology to the general public and paving the way for other industries (banking) and organizations to follow suit. Thirdly, the convergence of technologies – the advent of computer technology led to the birth of automated biometrics. Now, various industries (phone, wearables & healthcare; phone & banking) are rapidly converging to meet new applications while addressing existing opportunities. The introduction of biometrics in phones (iPhone X) and wearables makes this convergence with other industries more viable and easier. It will be interesting to see what future devices have in store for us.

Innovation on Touchless Touchscreen Technology

Touchless Touchscreen is a technology which uses gesturing as form of input and it has no requirement of touching the screen. This technology is high-end technology, that uses hand waves and hand flicks. It does not need touching of screen rather system detects hand movements in front of it by making use of various sensors. This technology looks visually fascinating and is depicted in various Sci-fi movies such as minority report and matrix revolutions. This technology has four parts for its working that are: movement detection, optical [pattern recognition, motion pattern interruption, and screen pointing. 
Applications of Touchless Touchscreen Technology

There are various applications of Touchless touchscreen technology which are as follows −

Touchless monitor
It is specially designed for applications where touch is complex, including for doctors wearing gloves. The display includes capacitive sensors that can detect motion from a distance of 15-20 cm from the screen, and software interprets these gestures as commands.
The computer screen is based on technology from Touchco, which is currently being demonstrated by White Electronic Designs and Tactile Services at the CeBit show.

Touchless UI
UI contains several gestures that allow users to take software and forward it to others with simple hand movements. So, after reading the file, it can only push it from the side of the screen.

Touchless SDK
Touchless SDK is an open-source SDK for .NET software. It allows developers to create multi-touch-based software using the webcam for inputs. User-represented colour-based markers are tracked and their data generated by events to SDK users.

Touch Wall
Touch Wall itself defines the touch screen hardware on which it is installed. The corresponding software to run the Touch Wall is called Plex, which was developed in the standard version of Vista.

History of Touchless Touchscreen

Since touchscreens can also increase the spread of covid, there has been a surge in the development of advanced technologies including touchless touchscreen technology after the covid-19 breakdown. Engineers at the University of Cambridge have developed a patented technology called 'Predictive Touch' as part of a research collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover. It uses a combination of artificial intelligence and sensor technology to predict the user's intended target on touchscreens and other interactive displays or control panels, selecting the correct item before the user's hand reaches the display.
Most passenger cars have touchscreen technology to control entertainment, navigation or temperature control systems. However, users often lose focus for example due to acceleration or vibrations from road conditions and have to reselect, which means taking their attention to the road, increasing the risk of an accident.

In lab-based testing, driving simulators and highway-based testing, Predictive Touch technology can reduce workload and interaction time by up to 50% by predicting with high accuracy what the user wants before instructing a task.

As lockdown restrictions around the world continue to ease, the researchers say the technology could also be useful in a post-COVID-19 world. Everyday consumer transactions are conducted using touchscreens: ticketing at rail stations or cinemas, ATMs, check-in kiosks at airports, self-service checkouts in supermarkets, as well as many industrial and manufacturing applications. Certain pathogens can be transmitted via surfaces, so this technology could help reduce the risk for that type of transmission. Eliminating the need to actually touch a touchscreen or other interactive display could reduce the risk of spreading pathogens such as the common cold, influenza or even coronavirus from surfaces.

In addition, the technology could also be incorporated into smartphones, and could be useful while walking or jogging, allowing users to easily and accurately select items without the need for any physical contact. It even works in situations such as a moving car on a bumpy road, or if the user has a motor disability which causes a tremor or sudden hand jerks, such as Parkinson’s disease or cerebral palsy.

Touchscreens and other interactive displays are something most people use multiple times per day, but they can be difficult to use while in motion, whether that’s driving a car or changing the music on the phone while users are running. 

The technology uses machine intelligence in order to determine the item the user intends to select on the screen early in the pointing task, speeding up the interaction. It uses a gesture tracker, including vision-based or RF-based sensors, which are increasingly common in consumer electronics; contextual information such as user profile, interface design, environmental conditions; and data available from other sensors, such as an eye-gaze tracker, to infer the user’s intent in real time.

This technology also offers the chance to make vehicles safer by reducing the cognitive load on drivers and increasing the amount of time they can spend focused on the road ahead. This is a key part of Destination Zero journey. The technology also offers the chance to make vehicles safer by reducing the cognitive load on drivers. This is a key part of Destination Zero journey.

It can also be used for displays without physical surfaces, such as 2D or 3D projections or holograms. Additionally, it promotes inclusive design practices and provides additional design flexibility, as interface features can be seamlessly personalized for a given user, and display size or position is no longer limited by the user's ability to touch.

Touchless Touchscreen technology has many advantages over more basic in-air interaction techniques or traditional gesture recognition, as it supports intuitive interaction with traditional interface designs and does not require any learning from the user. It fundamentally relies on systems to predict user intent and can be incorporated into new and existing touchscreens and other interactive display technologies.

This software-based contactless interaction solution has reached a high level of technology readiness and can be seamlessly integrated into existing touchscreens and interactive displays, as long as the right sensory data is available to support machine learning algorithms.
By reducing the risk of transmission of pathogens on surfaces, "touchless touchscreens" or touchless touchscreens developed for automotive use could also be widely used in a post-COVID-19 world.

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About IndustryARC: IndustryARC is a Research and Consulting Firm that publishes more than 500 reports annually, in various industries such as Agriculture, Automotive, Automation & Instrumentation, Chemicals and Materials, Energy and Power, Electronics, Food and Beverages, Information Technology, and Life sciences and Healthcare.