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It is similar to the touch pad, a computer input device in the form of a small panel containing different touch-sensitive areas.
Early screens used beams of infrared light projected across the screen surface. Interrupting the beams generated an electronic signal identifying the location of the screen, which was relayed to software.
Modern touch screens use a thin, durable, transparent plastic sheet overlayed onto the glass screen. The location of a touch is calculated from the capacitance for the X and Y axis|axes, which varies based upon where the sheet is touched.
- Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW)
The first touchpad tablet was invented in 1971, by Hidekazu Terai and Kazuo Nakata at Hitachi's Central Research Laboratory. It used a data tablet as a touchpad, with Japanese writing character recognition, for use with a computer. Touch-based tablet input later appeared in the Japanese electronic word processor industry in the 1970s.
In 1976, Sharp's Takeo Hara, Takeshi Kasufuchi and Ko Ozawa invented an electrode-based touch input device, using electrode technology, which was improved by Sharp's Hisao Komori and Makoto Shigeta in 1977, using electro-optical technology. Sharp commercially introduced it with its Shoin WD-3000 word processor, released in 1979. It had touch-based tablet input, with a touch-pen used for entry. This touch-based interface soon appeared in most Japanese word processors released from 1980 to 1982. A reason for this was because of the complexity of the Japanese writing system, with touch-based entry allowing typists to type faster. As better Japanese input methods developed for keyboards in the early 1980s, however, the Japanese word processor industry soon reverted back to keyboard entry.
The first commercial portable platform to use a touchpad pointing device was Sharp's PC-5000, one of the first laptop computers, in 1983. The use of a touchpad pointing device later become standard for laptop computers in the 1990s, especially following its use in Apple's PowerBook laptops.
The first attempts at introducing touchpads to dedicated gaming systems were by SEGA. As early as 1985, they released the SEGA Graphic Board tablet controller for the SG-1000 console and its SC-3000 computer counterpart in Japan. It came with a stylus pen, and the first touch-controlled game was Terebi Oekaki. A graphic touch tablet was released for the SEGA AI Computer in 1986, with educational games created for it.
SEGA developed positional sensor technology for their touchpad drawing tablet used with the 1987 arcade game World Derby. SEGA used the same technology in game development, to draw sprites for games such as Golden Axe II (1991).
In 1993, SEGA released the Pico edutainment console. Its controls consisted of a stylus pen and touch pad, based on active digitizer technology. It was the first console to use touch controls as the default control scheme, and the earliest known device to use active digitizer technology.
In 1979, the first touchscreen tablet was invented by a Japanese team at Hitachi consisting of Masao Hotta, Yoshikazu Miyamoto, Norio Yokozawa, and Yoshimitsu Oshima, who received a US patent for their invention.
The HP-150, released in 1983, was among one of the world's earliest commercialized touch screen computers. It actually does not have a touch screen in the strict sense, but a 9" Sony CRT surrounded by infrared transmitters and receivers which detect the position of any non-transparent object on the screen.
SEGA were planning to release the first handheld game console with touchscreen controls as the intended successor to the Game Gear. Intended for release in the early-mid 1990s, the device was ultimately shelved and never released due to the expensive cost of touchscreen technology in the early 1990s.
Japanese arcade games have been using touchscreen controls since the early 2000s, though these games are uncommon outside of Asia. Touch controls are used for card-based real-time strategy games, largely popularized by SEGA releases such as World Club Champion Football (2002) and Sangokushi Taisen (2005), where card placement on a touch surface corresponds to the actions of units on screen; the surface is able to identify each card separately. Arcade titles like these were the first commercially successful touchscreen games.
The first successful use of a touch screen in portable gaming was for the Nintendo DS handheld game system in 2004. Its success led to the release of other handheld platforms focusing on touch screen gaming, particularly mobile platforms such as the iOS in 2007 and Android in 2008.
SEGA's Psy-Phi introduced full-screen HD touch controls in 2005. In more recent years, multi-touch has been used for music rhythm games, largely popularized by the DJ Max Technika series from South Korea since 2008.
- "Text Editing System Using On-Line Real-time Character Recognition", Information Processing in Japan, Volumes 11-14, Information Processing Society of Japan
- Nanette Gottlieb, Word-Processing Technology in Japan: Kanji and the Keyboard, Routledge
- JPS52115627A patent: Input device
- JPS5459830A patent: General-purpose input device
- 【Sharp】 WD-3000, Information Processing Society of Japan
- US4389711A patent: Touch sensitive tablet using force detection