Business Innovations: Touch Screen Technology Innovation is described as the transformation in the way of doing something. This is usually in the form of discoveries, technological advancements or application of inventions into a constructive form. These changes can be subtle, incremental advancements, or they can be revolutionary in nature and result in complete change in the way things are done in a particular field. One such innovation is the touch-screen technology. A touch screen is basically a technology for visual display which can detect the presence of touch in a certain area.
The touch is usually done on the display area of the device with the user’s finger, or a small tool such as a stylus, depending on the nature of the touch technology. However, in order for a device to qualify as a “touch screen” device, the handheld tool used to touch the screen must not be active, such as a light pen. There are important advancements brought through the touch screen technology. Firstly, it lets the users interact directly with what is displayed to them. Initially, this interaction was only possible through external devices such as the mouse, trackball, touchpad, and so on, which could be used to direct a cursor on the display screen to select different options.
The touch screen enables direct interaction which results in a more real life and entertaining experience for the users. These touch screen displays can then be easily connected to other devices such as computers and networks to enhance its usability and functionality. The touch screen technology has become so prominent over the period of time that many digital devices, such as mobile phones, satellite navigation systems, etc, are specifically designed to facilitate the technology. 2. The very first “touch sensor” was created in 1971, by the founder of Elographics named, Doctor Sam Hurst, during his time as a professor in University of Kentucky.
This device, called “Elograph”, was patended by the university’s research foundation. The problem with this device, however, was that it was not transparent. Nonetheless, it was a momentous milestone in itself and paved way for the modern day touch screen technology as is used today. (Bellis) As time progressed, so did the technology.
In 1974, just three years later, the technology evolved into a transparent surface touch screen. This was developed by Sam Hurst himself, with the help of Elographics. Moreoever, in 1977, Elographics made a major breakthrough with the creation of five-wire resistive technology which, today, is the most widely used touch screen technology. (Bellis) As discussed, all major patents relating to touch screen technology were filed in the 1970s and 1980s. Therefore, as of today, these patents have expired. This means that the manufacturing of touch screen components, today, face no legal restrictions, and no royalties have to be paid to the inventor.
This, coupled with the globalization due to various other technological advancements has resulted in hundreds of companies in different markets of the world to adopt it in their product offerings. The technology is widely being used by cellular phone manufacturers, computer manufacturers, and many other IT related markets. Today, the technology has become even more advanced with multipoint touch screen technologies that enable the sensing of multiple fingers on the screen. This makes possible many more applications to be used on touch screen devices which require multiple touches to interact with the device.
It also makes the overall experience for the user much more entertaining and exhilarating. Also, through this technology, multiple users can interact with the device simultaneously. As technology today advances, the cost of a touch screen interface goes down. The technology had been so successful that companies all over the world spend a great portion of the research and development budget in refining the technology. Competition in the market had enabled companies to devise cheaper and more efficient mechanisms for the technology.
This is why today, the marginal cost of the technology had gone down so low that it is negligible compared to the overall product and that is why users prefer buying touch screen technology over older technologies for interaction with the devices. Touch screen technology has matured over time. With its applications found today in almost all fields, such as automobiles, home appliances, all kinds of handheld devices, gaming consoles, and so on, the technology has proven to be very reliable and with an even brighter future.
Touch screen technology in the mobile phone market alone was projected to make US$ 5 Billion in the year 2009. ($5 billion revenue from touch-screen mobiles in 2009, 2008) 3. Touch screen technology has evolved mainly because of the acceptance by its users. The ease of use that this technology offers was noted by the developers, and eventually by the users, and as more and more users started adopting the technology, companies started to pitch in to the development of the technology themselves. Needless to say, technological advancements played a big role in the success of this technology.
Touch screens are of great use in portable devices. Its success would not have been possible if the portable devices themselves had not become popular amongst the masses. Devices that support touch screens are as important for the technology as is the technology for them. Therefore, technological advancements in all fields played an important part and complemented the development of touch screen technology. 4. Technological innovations had never really been looked down upon by the government. Unless the technology is started to be used for illegal purposes, it does not come under the limelight of criticism, as far as legislation is concerned.
There were no government laws that caused hindrance in the development of touch screen technology. The only hindrance that was probably faced in its evolvement was caused by the patents that were filed by the inventors in the 1970s and 1980s. That gave rights only to the inventors to further develop the technology for as long as the patent lasted. Today, however, all patents for the technology have expired and companies are rapidly adopting the technology in their products.
Apart from that, the advancement in the technology by Apple Inc, enabled multi touch interaction was patented by Apple, but even that is no more valid. Moreover, the technology also did not face much opposition from people. The users, especially the mobile phone users, however, had a hard time switching from their comfort zone of pushing physical buttons and using physical pointers on their hand held devices. This resulted in a relatively slow and gradual growth of touch screen users in the market as people had to incorporate a completely different style of interaction with the devices. Other common criticisms that were raised against the use of touch screen devices were that it was more fragile as compared to devices with physical buttons.
Also they were priced relatively higher because the technology was in its stage of development and was relatively more expensive to build. 5. Touch screen technology, even with today’s advancements, is relatively more expensive than devices with normal, physical buttons. Apart from that, the technology has proven to be of great benefit, both technologically, and socially. Touch screen technology has paved way for great technological advancements.
Today’s state of the technology enables great opportunity to its users. With the recent multi touch advancement, multiple users can now easily use the same device. They can use it for other applications as well, such as on display video editing, picture zooming, browsing, games, and so on. It has taken portability of devices to a whole new level, and therefore paved way for a whole array of new and creative devices to hit the market.
From digital music players, to cell phones, to even general purpose computers, touch screens have made possible what could only be imagined in the past. Users no more need external devices to interact with the device. The technology has also taken security to another level. Biometric sensors can use touch screen technology for finger print scanning (Beyers, 2008). This is also widely used in many areas such as banks, universities, and even in personal computers. Works Cited $5 billion revenue from touch-screen mobiles in 2009. (2008, September 11). Retrieved October 2, 2010, from phones review: http: //www. phonesreview. co. uk/2008/09/11/5-billion-revenue-from-touch-screen-mobiles-in-2009/ Bellis, M.
(n. d.). Touch Screen. Retrieved October 2, 2010, from About. com: http: //inventors. about. com/library/inventors/bltouch. htm Beyers, T. (2008, February 13). Innovation Series: Touchscreen Technology. Retrieved October 2, 2010, from The Motley Fool: http: //www. fool. com/investing/general/2008/02/13/innovation-series-touchscreen-technology. aspx