Touch Screen Frames – Demystifying IR Touch Frames

touch screen frames

Many who people still have ordinary monitor screens want to move up to ones which use touch technology but are held back by cost considerations. For these people, buying new monitors may not be the answer; they can just buy relatively inexpensive touch screen frames. Purchasing and installing touch screen frames breathe new life into old monitors, giving them the multi-touch capability of completely new and modern ones at affordable prices.

One of the most popular technologies used for touch screen frames is infrared (IR). It is popular because it is one of the most affordable technologies and it is even easy to ship. So what are IR touch screen frames, and what makes them work?

IR frames operate by using light to sense the x and y axis location of touches made on a screen. The system uses infrared light, to be more exact. The basic conversion kit contains four edges of the screen which contain infrared emitters and receivers which send out and receive light in a grid pattern. Touches on the screen surface are sensed and measured using the interruption of light beams on particular emitter and receiver pairs. IR frames are available in most sizes that fit commercially available displays from popular manufacturers. While they are relatively cheap, easy to use and maintain, are IR touch screen frames have one small downside: solid objects placed on the screen causes a blind spot.

Because these frames sense touches using light, some can be sensitive to bright environments; a few new models seem to have overcome this by making the images brighter and using high refresh rates. Organizations such as the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) may have more information on the latest features of touch screen frames.

Most often touch screen frames using IR technology are shipped in kits requiring assembly by the user. In most cases, when used in a small to medium sized display, it takes just one person to assemble and install such frames. The frame itself usually comes in four pieces. The ends of each piece contain wire connectors, and each corner is secured by a bolted bracket to keep the sides at right angles with each other. Assembly of the frame is best done on a very flat surface. IR touch screen frames will work without any glass covering on the existing monitor. However, to make bigger displays vandal proof, some sport toughened glass covers.

Once the frame is assembled, the next step is to affix it to the existing monitor. On smaller frames, strips of double-sided tape are used to stick the frames onto the monitor bezel, while ensuring the touch surfaces align with the screen of the existing monitor. A small weight is evenly applied to the frame for 24 hours, and then it is ready. Metal brackets are sometimes used on large frames.

The remaining task is to connect USB (and power cable if there is a separate one) and install the device driver. Most IR touch frames are plug & play, although some may involve simple calibration before use.

If you are still using an ordinary monitor, perhaps it is time you considered switching to touch screen using an IR frame converter kit.