Computer Touchpads: 5 Fast Facts

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Fact #1. Touchpads are based on one of two different types of technologies. They are either capacitive or conductive. Conductive touchpads contain multiple layers of material. The user touches the uppermost layer. The lower layers contain vertical and horizontal electrodes. These layers are charged with an alternating current. At the very bottom is a circuit board. Contact with a user's finger creates an interruption in the current. This registers on the circuit board. The touch is plotted on the pad. Any movement afterwards is related to that initial point of contact.
Fact #2. Capacitive touchpads are more common. They're also known for being more accurate. These devices won't accidentally register touches from a pencil or other inert objects. When you touch a capacitive touchpad, it plots the coordinates. Once it's determined the finger's location, it converts it to a specific location on the computer screen.
Fact #3. The first touchpads came around in 1982. They were integrated into the keyboard of Apollo desktop computers. One year later, the Gavilan SC laptop also included a touchpad. It was located above the keyboard. The capacitive touchpad was introduced in 1988. It wasn't until 1994 that it was made commercially available. It was marketed as the GlidePoint. Apple was the first company to license the device..
Fact #4. Ever since the mid 1990s, companies have been unable to decide an agreed upon term for touchpads. This has been the cause for much confusion among consumers. Manufacturers like HP and Lenovo refer to them as touchpads. Apple labeled them trackpads. Some companies even call them clickpads.
Fact #5. It's important to understand the different gestures a touchpad is capable of. Efficient usage relies on a working knowledge of its various shortcuts. Pinching your fingers together or stretching them out allows for zooming. You can scroll by swiping two fingers up or down. Placing both fingers on the touchpad for a second or two functions much like the right click on a standard mouse. It's recommended to check the settings and choose which features you prefer to use.

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