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light-bulb-1002783_960_720You’ve probably heard of touchscreen technology, but have you heard of touch switches?

A touch switch is basically a type of electrical switch that’s operated through touch (hence the name). They are commonly used in lighting fixtures, computer terminals, and similar controllable devices. The operator doesn’t have to physically press down a button, but rather he or she just needs to touch the appropriate area for the command to register. A typical touchscreen device often contains an array of touch switches, all of which are used to establish the touch-controlled technology.

Capacitance Touch Switch

There are several different types of touch switches available on the market, one of which is capacitance. With capacitance touch switch, there’s an electrode embedded behind a non-conductive material like glass or plastic. Much like capacitive touchscreen technology, it works by registering the electrical charge produced by the operator. The capacitance touch switch identifies the origin of the touch based on the operator’s electrical charge; touching the switch causes its capacitance to increase, at which point the switch is triggered on or off.

Resistance Touch Switch

A second type of touch switch technology is resistance. Resistance touch switches require not one electrodes but two, both of which must be in contact with a resistive material or object to function as intended. When using a resistance touch switch, you’ll essentially press the upper-most layer down towards the bottom-most layer. And when these two layers make contact, the switch registers the action to turn on or off the respective device. Resistance touch switches operate in a similar manner as resistive touchscreen devices, relying on the pressure of touch instead of the operator’s electrical charge.

Piezo Touch Switch

The third and final type of touch switch on the market is piezo. These switches are unique in the sense that they are based on the bending of piezo ceramic, which is constructed behind the surface of the switch. The benefit of using a piezo touch switch is its ability to interact with interfaces of virtually an ytype of material. Furthermore, it can function as an actuator — a feature that’s not available in traditional resistance and capacitance touch switches.

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