To truly understand the ShadowSense advantage, it’s important to explore other touch technologies, how they work, and what they can do.
Surface Wave Acoustic (SAW) technology operates by tracking sound waves above the human hearing range, also known as ultrasonic waves, to detect the location of touch points on the screen. This technology is perimeter-based, such as Infrared and Optical touch technology, but use sound instead of light for its calculations.

Surface Wave Acoustic SAW Screen Grid

How does it work?

A SAW touch screen is made up of a glass sheet with three components: transmitting transducers, receiving transducers, and reflectors. The transmitting transducers produce ultrasonic waves that skim over the surface of the screen, get reflected and are captured by the receiving transducers.
When a soft matter like human skin, touches the screen, the surface acoustic waves are absorbed, and the receiving transducers do not register any input. Based on this lack of sound the sensors can calculate the location of the touch event.


Features Comparison

Surface Wave Acoustic (SAW) ShadowSense™
EMI resistance
Durable & long lasting
4K touch resolution
Object transparency detection
Accurate multitouch
Touch response time 10 ms and up under 10 ms
Clarity Great Great


Limitations of SAW Touch Screens

  • Do not function with a pen or any other hard material
  • High multi-touch latency
  • Can malfunction when dirt, oil, or droplets stay on the screen
  • Perimeter can’t be sealed from the environment and so attracts buildup in bezel


The ShadowSense Advantage

Surface Acoustic Wave has several issues that can impact performance and universal deployment. ShadowSense has significant advantages over SAW touch technology. Curious? – discover the ShadowSense advantage.


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