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touchscreenA touchscreen is a display device that allows the user to interact with a computer by using their finger. They can be quite useful as an alternative to a mouse or keyboard for navigating a graphical user interface (GUI). Touchscreens are used on a variety of devices such as computer and laptop monitors, smartphones, tablets, cash registers, and information kiosks. Some touchscreens use a grid of infrared beams to sense the presence of a finger instead of utilizing touch-sensitive input.

Touchscreen history

The idea of a touchscreen was first described and published by E.A. Johnson in 1965. In the early 1970s, the first touchscreen was developed by Frank Beck and Bent Stumpe, engineers at CERN. The physical product was first created and utilized in 1973. The first resistive touchscreen was developed by George Samuel Hurst in 1975 but wasn't produced and used until 1982.

How do you use the touchscreen?

Note: Not all touchscreens have the same functions, but the actions below are the most common.

Tap - A single touch or tap on the screen with a finger opens an app or select an object. When compared to a traditional computer, a tap is the same as clicking with a mouse.

Double-tap - A double-tap can have different functions depending on where it is utilized. For example, in a browser, double-tapping the screen zooms in at the tap location. Double-tapping in a text editor can be used to select a word or section of words.

Touch and hold - Pressing and holding your finger to a touchscreen selects or highlights an object. For example, you could touch and hold an icon, and then drag it somewhere else on the screen.

Drag - If you press and hold your finger on an object (such as an app shortcut) on the screen, you can move your finger to "pull" the object to a different location. Using this same action with text allows you to highlight text. Lift your finger when you are done moving or highlighting.

Swipe - Swiping your finger across the screen can be used to scroll in a certain direction or change pages. For example, pressing your finger at the bottom of the screen and quickly moving it up (swiping) scrolls the screen down.

Pinch - Placing two fingers on the screen in different spots and then pinching them together zooms out. Pinching your fingers together and then moving them away from each other, zooms in on the screen.

Also see: App, Input device, Pointing device, Swipe, Video terms