Electrical & Computer Engineering Classroom Innovations

Experience of Teaching Advanced Touch Sensing Technologies

  • Nannan He (Minnesota State University)
  • Han-Way Huang (Minnesota State University)


A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that users can control by touching the screen with a special stylus or fingers. It allows the rapid, accurate and direct interaction by the user with display contents, which existing keyboard and mouse systems cannot. Touchscreens are popular in many information appliances such as tablet computers, smartphones, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). In fact, many display manufactures and chip vendors around the world, such as Samsung, Chimei, Atmel, ST Microelectronics, and Texas Instruments, have recognized the trend of using touchscreens as a highly desirable user interface component and started to integrate the touch-sensing technology into their products. There are many touch sensing technologies. Among them, analog resistive, surface capacitive, projected capacitive, infrared grid, optical imaging, and surface acoustic wave are the most important ones. We feel the importance and need to teach engineering students the touch sensing technology. This paper presents our experience of teaching touch sensing technology in our second microprocessor course. This course taught the touch-sensing technology in slightly over 5 weeks. As the start of the course, we introduced the working principles of each touch technology to students. We then conducted a comparison among these technologies and their applications in real-world electronic devices. Students were taught to program a touchscreen through a series of lab exercises. The Atmel SAM 4S-EK board was the main development board employed in the course for practicing touchscreen programming. This board includes four QTouch buttons and slides which utilize capacitive sensing technology, and a resistive touch panel on a color LCD display. Atmel provides a royalty free software library for developing touch applications in C. Students learned to link the library into their applications so as to provide touch sensing capability in their projects. During the course our students have shown great interests in touch sensing technologies and are capable of incorporating touch devices to improve the human machine interface of their capstone projects.

How to Cite:

He, N. & Huang, H., (2014) “Experience of Teaching Advanced Touch Sensing Technologies”, 2014 ASEE North Midwest Section Conference 2014(1), 1-13. doi: https://doi.org/10.17077/aseenmw2014.1010

Rights: Copyright © 2014, Nannan He and Han-Way Huang

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Published on
17 Oct 2014
Peer Reviewed