“In 2010, South Korea experienced a particularly cold winter. People couldn’t activate their smartphones while wearing gloves, so they began wielding snack sausages— causing one company to see a 40% rise in sausage sales. So, what could sausages do that gloves couldn’t? In other words, how do touchscreens actually work?”
Plus, a related question: What do banana peels, pickles, snack sausages, and your fingers have in common?
Learn how capacitive and resistive touchscreens use external inputs—fingers, snack sausages, gloves made with conductive thread, and more—to complete their electric circuits. Their magic is found within the layers of glass and plastic that are coated or lined with conductive materials.
This TED-Ed lesson by Charles Wallace and Sajan Saini, directed by Luis Torres, provides a bit of touchscreen history and demonstrates how both types of technology make our smartphones and kiosks work.
Related at WNYC, a 2011 timeline: A History Of Touch-Screen Technology.
Then watch these smartphone and circuit videos on TKSST:
• C is for Capacitor – Circuit Playground
• Paper Circuits Cubes
• Electric Dough Playdate, a fun way for kids to experiment with circuits
• j.viewz plays music with fruit, vegetables, & MaKey MaKey
• Make a 3D “hologram” using your smartphone & a CD jewel case
Bonus: When was the first cell phone call?
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