A Brief History of Touchscreen Technology

When we think about touchscreen technology, smartphones and tablets generally come to mind. But these are just yet another part of the touchscreen revolution. With its vast industrial applications, touchscreen has literally changed how certain industries look, such as retail and banking.

The history of touchscreen dates to the 1960s, when the first touchscreen was invested by E.A. Johnson. Let’s have a brief look into the history of touchscreen technology:

Capacitive Touchscreen

The first finger driven touchscreen was invented in 1965, and is still used in what we see in ATMs.

E.A. Johnson even published an article in which he outlined his novel idea of computer input and output. Although the first touchscreen was not as effective as we see today, it was still adopted by air traffic controllers, and was used by them until the 1990s.

Resistive Touchcreen

Five years later, resistive touchscreens were discovered accidentally in an experiment by Dr. G. Samuel Hurst.

Hurst spent several ways perfecting the technology he had discovered accidentally because he thought it might be useful for other applications. His invention quickly eclipsed its predecessor, the capacitive touchscreen, as it turned out to be much more affordable and durable.

Resistive touchscreens are still used today in restaurants, customer kiosks and factories.

The 1980s

1980s is also considered the ‘decade of touch’, as several advances were made in the world of touchscreens. This included the first multi-touch which was invented by the University of Toronto in 1982. It had a camera inside its glass, which detected the black spots made by the finger tips.

Soon afterwards, gesture interaction was invented, which read hand movements with the use of video cameras. However, it wasn’t well received or recognized like it should have been.

HP introduced the first touch computer, HP-150, in 1983, which also marked the commercialization of touchscreen technology.

In 1984, multi-touch took a leap forward when it enabled users to manipulate objects on the screen using their fingers.


1990s saw the invention of the first smartphone using touchscreen technology. It was invented by BellSouth and IBM.

Apple soon introduced a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) featuring touchscreen technology. These were the first smartphones ever invented.

2000s and beyond

By the 2000s, the touchscreen started gaining traction and more and more companies started using touchscreen for their operations and for their end-users. The advances we have seen in banking, retail and healthcare is an indication of how touchscreen has changed the world in the last two decades.

The future of touchscreen technology looks even more fascinating, as the technology continues to evolve even further.

How does a touchscreen that allows you to feel different surfaces on the screen, such as grass, mud, water, etc. sound? Although this has not become mainstream yet, it won’t take much time before they are present everywhere!

REVO Interactive is one of the leading industrial grade multi-touch monitors supplier. They have an expansive collection of LCD displays which include panoramic LCDs, open frame monitors and LCD Touchscreen Kits.

Visit their website to learn more.

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