I was thinking of inputting somewhat larger text on a touchscreen, and since I have fat and clumsy fingers, that will be a total pain to type by hand/fingers.

So I thought, it would be much easier for me to hold a pen-like object, and use that to tap on the touchscreen. Obviously, I would not want that object to be hard and sharp, else I'll damage the touchscreen.

So, I tried

  • using a q-tip (cotton swab), dry - and the touchscreen didn't react.
  • Got the q-tip wet with a bit of water - touchscreen didn't react.
  • Tried to (very carefully) drag a screwdriver om the touchscreen, to see if metal makes a difference - touchscreen didn't react.
  • Tried a various assortment of pens, and pencils (including the erasing rubber end) - touchscreen didn't react.

So, I was wondering - what would the properties of an object, that can serve as a tap/drag input tool on a touchscreen, be? Soft for one - but what are the properties required, so that the touchscreen would actually react to input, made using the object?

IIRC, touchpads can be implemented as "resistive" or "capacitive", but I do not know what property do they measure to provide input. Would that property be electric field? If so, could one use, say, an AA battery (don't have one with me to test) to provide input through a touchscreen?

  • 1
    Are you trying to make your own stylus? – davidmneedham Jan 19 '18 at 16:49
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    There are touch gloves that has something in the fingers to make it work. You should investigate what they are to get your answer, or alternatively buy one and put something like a pen in one of the fingers. – LPChip Jan 19 '18 at 16:54
  • Thanks @davidmneedham - yeah, I guess so (or find any common object to function as one); couldn't quite remember the word for "stylus", so thanks for mentioning - I have updated the title! – sdaau Jan 19 '18 at 16:55
  • Thanks @LPChip - do you mean something like described on, say, tomsguide.com/us/pictures-story/… ? Never heard about these before, will research - thanks! – sdaau Jan 19 '18 at 16:57
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    Yup, exactly, those. – LPChip Jan 19 '18 at 17:04

From some comments by Mokubai:

The properties for capacitive screens is that the "prodding" device be somewhat conductive but not a direct short, hence "capacitive". Your fingers act like a moving charged capacitor able to affect a conductive pattern etched into the glass. For resistive screens they are simpler, there being an air-gap between layers that a poking device will distort and short the layers together at particular points.

Typically the "smartphone stylus" pens are a conductive rubber compound tip connected to a metal tube. This acts like a (very small) capacitor in a similar way to your finger on the screen.

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