Touch-sensitive surfaces have become ubiquitous in our modern world. Although touchpads made their debut in the early 1980s as a mouse replacement for portable computers, it wasn’t until the advent of the iPhone that touchscreens captured the imagination of consumer electronics device manufacturers and the world at large. The reason for their appeal is simple: they remove the need for any special purpose peripherals (like mice or styli) and make commanding and controlling a computer or machine as direct as pointing and selecting. Because they are programmable, they also enable a single physical surface to act as a window onto a virtually infinite variety of applications.
Although the revolution enabled by touch-sensitive surfaces is most visible in our mobile devices, this technology is becoming commonplace in automotive interfaces (both as touchpads and touchscreens), wearable devices and game controllers. As component prices drop, this technology has the potential to replace nearly every control interface including those found in white and brown goods.