Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive Digital Signage Solution Provider

Infrared (IR) vs Projected Capacitive (PCAP) Touch Screen – Smart Touch

In a more competitive worldwide market and with the growth of E-commerce, capturing the attention of prospective clients is more difficult than ever before — let alone enticing them to take a chance on your business.

So, how can brick-and-mortar stores provide a distinct shopping experience in the internet age? With the assistance of digital signage, of course!

It will not only catch the eye of every passer-by, but it will also offer your brand a fresh and current appearance appropriate for the new age of retail. These are some of the primary advantages of incorporating digital signage in the exact location of your shop.

But did you realize that there are numerous distinct types of digital signage? One of the most popular ones is smart touch technology.

Touch screens are becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives: mobile phones, ATMs, kiosks, ticket vending machines, and other devices all employ touch panels to allow users to connect with a computer or device without using a keyboard or mouse.

There are two main types of touch screen technologies. To know which one is right for your business, we have to make the necessary comparisons.

It’s infrared vs projected capacitive touch screens! Let us be the first to tell you, there’s not going to be a champion as both have their own strengths and drawbacks.

If you want to learn more about the type of innovation taking place in the realm of smart touch and automation, keep reading.

But First, What is Smart Touch?

Smart Touch is REV Interactive’s touch screen brand. The Smart Touch range of touch screens by Rev Interactive have been in the works for half a decade now.

These touch screens are interactive and equipped with Multi-touch solutions. As we mentioned, they are based on two distinct technologies: Projected Capacitive (PCAP) and Infrared (IR).

A touchscreen may be defined as an input and output device that is generally stacked on top of an electric visual display system and is capable of processing information. It allows users to enter or control data and information with a single or many touches with a specific stylus or a finger.

A touch screen allows users to manipulate what's on the screen with a single touch. Source: Unsplash. Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
A touch screen allows users to manipulate what’s on the screen with a single touch. Source: Unsplash

Certain touch screens require the use of ordinary or particularly coated gloves to work, whilst others merely demand the use of a specific pen or stylus.

Users may also modify what is displayed depending on the kind of touch screen. For instance, they might increase the text font size using a zooming option.

The touch screen technologies, such as kiosk touch screens, allow consumers to interact directly with what is displayed, removing the need for the touchpad, mouse, or other similar devices.

Types of Smart Touch Solutions in Malaysia

There are two main types of touch technologies: Projected capacitive and infrared touch.

Projected capacitive touch technology detects and locates a touch by measuring peak changes in the frequency. When a user touches the screen, capacitance arises between a finger and on the screen causing the electromagnetic field of the sensor to be disturbed.

Infrared touch overlays are placed in a frame surrounding the display and emit infrared LEDs and sensors in a vertical and horizontal row. Because infrared touch technology is less expensive and more scalable than projected capacitance, we can build large touch screen solutions.

Read on to learn more about the distinct features and benefits of a projected capacitive touch and infrared touch technology.

Infrared (IR) vs Projected Capacitive (PCAP). Differences Between IR & PCAP

Although you may not be able to discern the difference between infrared (IR) and projected capacitive (PCAP) when using interactive touch screens, they are structurally and aesthetically distinct.

We’ll explore how these two are different and you can use the breakdown to decide which is better for your project.

Projected Capacitive Touch Screen (PCAP) 

Active capacitive touch screen. Source: Pinterest. Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
Active capacitive touch screen. Source: Pinterest

Projected capacitive (also known as PCT or PCAP) is a type of a touch screen technology found on the surface of smartphones, tablets, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), and a variety of other touch screen devices. It is largely the same as surface capacitive technology, with a few improvements.

PCAP touch has more electrodes than the surface of the capacitive touch screen. As a result, they can handle a wider range of touch instructions.

The touch points are supported in the thousands of distinct places to determine the contact with the display interface by certain projected capacitive touch screens. PCAP touch screens are available at REV Interactive as Nano Touch Foil (which is more flexible) or a rigid glass panel. 

Extremely durableA bare finger or a capacitive stylus is required.
Very preciseA severe scrape might have an impact on the operation of the injured region.
Excellent optical clarityCostly
Can process wide variety of touch modes

Infrared Touch Screens

Infrared terminal measuring indicator. Source: Megadepot. Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
Infrared terminal measuring indicator. Source: Megadepot

Infrared touch technology (commonly known as IR) is the most frequently used in commercial touch screens and has been the industry standard for decades.

Using IR technology eliminates the need for the physical touch points with the screen, resulting in less damage over time. It operates by integrating LED lights and sensors into a monitor’s bezel above the glass. These LEDs make an unseen grid by beaming a signal across to the equivalent sensor on the other side.

When a finger or more other solid item breaks the grid, the sensors may identify the contact location. REV Interactive provides several sizes of the IR multi-touch overlays to choose from.

Light transmission of 100 percent (not an overlay)Unreliability (MTBF for diodes)
Provides accuracy and clarityParallax issues
Strong and durableUnintentional activation
Can be activated with gloved hands, stylus etc.

Difference in Features

How They Work

Touch screen monitor. Source: Pinterest. Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
Touch screen monitor. Source: Pinterest

The voltage of a projected capacitive touchscreen will drop if you tap or touch the display interface. When you turn on a projected capacitive touch screen, electricity flows through the X-Y grid of intersecting electrodes.

When you tap or contact the display interface, a finger or stylus absorbs part of the energy in the region, which the device recognizes as of the touch.

This generates an invisible grid of infrared beams. On the other side of the display from the emitters, sensors detect contact when the grid’s plane is disrupted when a user touches it with their finger (or other solid objects).

In a sense, infrared touch screens use light-beam interruption or “beam break”, to ascertain where the touch has occurred.


A consistent electrostatic charge is applied to the top layer of capacitive touch screens. Touching the display will absorb part of the current that the gadget uses to detect touch points since the human body conducts electricity.

If you make contact with the display, the LED light in that area will be interrupted, allowing the gadget to recognize by the touch on the surface of the screen.

To detect the touch commands on the screen, infrared (IR) employs a mix of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and sensors. IR touch screens are built with LEDs that emit light to the matching sensors on the display’s surface.

Support for Touch Commands

The multi-touch instructions on a capacitive device are not possible while wearing gloves.

With IR touch screens, they will recognize your multi-touch command whether you use a finger, a gloved finger, or even a stylus.


Both capacitive and infrared touch screens are very accurate, capable of detecting the precise place of your touch instruction.

Capacitive technology, however, is generally more accurate. The touch in a capacitive device’s display absorbs electrostatic current from the precise region, providing for a higher level of precision of touch technology.

Screen Size

Different screen sizes of digital kiosks. Source: Freepik. Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
Different screen sizes of digital kiosks. Source: Freepik

PCAP touch screen software is most often seen in smartphones and tablets, but it may also be utilized on much bigger panels.

The integrated overlay of infrared beams from the top to bottom and side to side across the device’s bezel constitutes IR touch technology. The infrared touch system can also be the most cost-effective touch solution we provide, and it is available for a wide range of display sizes (32″ – 100+”).

Best Applications of Projected Capacitive (PCAP Touch) and Infrared (IR) Touch

Here are some practical applications of projected capacitive touch and infrared technology.

We hope this section will give you a better idea of which you should use for your project! 

Automatic Teller Machines

Automatic teller machine. Source: Pinterest.  Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
Automatic teller machine. Source: Pinterest

Automatic teller machines (ATMs), often known as cash machines, are a well-established kind of self-service technology that the general public has grown used to the utilization of a touch on a regular basis of resistive touch.

They are not only limited up to bank branches where they can be maintained and loaded up by the bank personnel. Mobile ATMs, for example, are erected in fields at the music festival season, depending on high-tech wireless data connections to verify balances and provide access to funds.

Self-service Kiosk

Fast food ordering kiosk. Source: iDesign Cafe

Self-service kiosks rely on a strong multi-touch screen technology that lets users find the information or service they require for themselves.

All that is required is the skill to configure the software that powers these kiosks, and they may be used to issue tickets, offer sales information, access web-based services, or purchase meals.

These self-service kiosks provide a variety of services from a single, cost-effective touch unit.

Barcode Scanner

Handheld barcode scanner. Source: MadeinChina. Infrared vs Projected Capacitive - Rev Interactive
Handheld barcode scanner. Source: MadeinChina

As soon as barcode scanning began to improve the efficiency of merchants’ point-of-sale procedures, they realized how they might become even more cost-effective if customers had access to that touch screen technology as well.

It is now typical for stores to enable customers to stroll by the store, scanning the barcodes of products as they go.

This not only saves consumers from having to line up at the conclusion of their shopping binge, but it also means that fewer customer care employees are needed on site.

Online Banking Services

Online banking is, of course, the resistive touch self-service equivalent of telephone banking.

Self-service online banking, which is more secure than ever, puts the client in control of their funds, whether they want to change the touch order, make foreign payments using the screen , or settle their debts.

Because of the effectiveness of such self-service technology, many consumers no longer bother to visit their banks’ resistive touch machines.

But, How Should You Choose Which to Use? IR vs. PCAP

1. Budget

PCAP is the trending touch technology of the future, although it has a higher initial cost.

Infrared is a proven and true touch point technology mainstay. If you’re searching for a more affordable touch screen, we recommend going with an infrared touch screen.

If you are prepared to make an investment, a PCAP touch screen will be well worth it.

2. Type of Devices

Which type of touch screen technology you use also depends on the device you’re applying it to.

A consistent electrostatic charge is applied to the top layer of capacitive touch screens. The touch point display will absorb part of the current that the gadget uses to detect touch instructions since the human body conducts electricity.

To detect the touch point commands, infrared touch screens do not need an electric charge. Instead, they detect multi-touch commands using a mix of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and sensors.

3. Location

Capacitive technology is suitable for both indoor and outdoor locations, as well as unattended, self-service devices, and it enables single and multi touch capabilities in any form and size.

Infrared technology is unsuitable for unsupervised outdoor applications. Ambient light and weather conditions can be having a significant impact on performance. Infrared touch technology touch is better suited for supervised indoor applications.

4. Targeted Users

Touch screens are resistive touch technology typically used in conjunction with haptic response systems. The vibratory feedback produced when a button on a touchscreen is tapped is a popular example or more of this technology.

Haptics are used to improve the user experience with touch screens by giving simulated tactile feedback. They may also be programmed to react quickly, which helps to compensate for on-screen reaction latency.


PCAP and Infrared are the two most appropriate types of touch technology for commercial touch panels.

Both are excellent, but depending on the customer’s needs, one may be more appropriate than the other.

PCAP is the touch technology of the future, although it has a higher initial cost. Infrared is a proven and true touch technology’s mainstay.

If you’re searching for a more affordable touch screen, we recommend going with an infrared touch screen. If you are prepared to invest, a PCAP touch screen will be well worth it. When it comes to choosing between the two, there is no right or wrong answer; it is just a question of preference.

So for your project, who’s the winner in the infrared vs projected capacitive comparison?

At REV Interactive we provide infrared and projected capacitive touch screen technologies, as well as bespoke software. Visit our website’s product pages to select from a wide range of touchscreen alternatives.

With inexpensive and personalized touch screen rentals delivered directly to you, we provide the ideal option for any event.

Get in touch with us to learn more!

Frequently Asked Questions on Infrared vs Projected Capacitive Touch Screen

1. Which type of touchscreen is not suitable for gloved fingers?

Capacitive touch screens do not support a gloved finger’s touch. Gloved fingers should still elicit a reaction from IR touch overlay

However, most of the time, touch screens aren’t very responsive to a user who is wearing gloves. The thickness of the glove and the material it is made of play a significant role when it comes creating a response on touch screen surfaces.

2. What type of touch screen is best?

Both projected capacitive and infrared technologies can be a good choice depending on the intended use. It is difficult to determine the best option among the two without context.

Projected capacitive touch technology has the benefit of supporting excellent image clarity, being resistant to liquids and other surface impurities, and being even more resistant to nicks and scratches than surface capacitive displays. One of the most significant advantages of this touch technology is its multi-touch capability.

If your touch screen application will be used outside or in an exposed area, IR touch technology is not the best option. If, on the other hand, you need cutting-edge optical performance and a stunning, crystal-clear display and money isn’t an issue, IR touch technology might be a wonderful alternative for you! 

3. What is the difference between the touchscreen and multi-touch?

A single touch monitor is an electronic visual display that detects and displays the presence and position of a single touch inside the display area. Other passive items, such as a pen, can be detected by touch monitors. In essence, when a finger or stylus takes the place of the mouse click or flick.

Any touch monitor that can be identified by two touches and execute extra tasks to alter the interface is referred to as multi-touch. The iPhone is credited with popularizing this interface by allowing pinching and the touch on the screen to adjust magnification.

4. What is Zombie finger?

This is the phrase used when users are unable to get their touch technologies to respond to fingertip contact.

Electrical conductivity might be hampered when a finger has large calluses on its surface or if the user has extremely dry skin. The flow of power is halted as a result of this. As a result, you may find yourself pounding away on your phone or tablet with your ‘Zombie Finger’ in vain.

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