Does a touch frame need glass or plastic sheet for turning a Plasma or LCD monitor or TV into be a multi touch interactive surface?

Recently we had input from a reseller who received the following from their client.
There is no need to have glass framing. I thought the use of a normal frame will do. Most of the multi touch frame nowadays don come with glass. All multi touch work with infra red along the parameters. Some of them include tempered glass but is more expensive.

Your client is absolutely correct a touch frame does not require glass to operate.

So given this lack of understanding I thought many others might be asking the same question or thinking the same so now is the time to share why we recommend a shet of glass in front when the touch technology as such actually does not require a glass sheet to actually operate..unless it uses SAW technology. And for large touch surfaces we use a glass sheet for an entirely additional different reason than as described below..but that is another article.

However many installations feature a tempered hardened sheet of glass so the public can not touch the actual lcd/plasma surface and so it is there for protection. The use of normal window glass is never used due to so easy to be broken and cracked and the likely hood of being sued etc if a person cut themself etc.

On many LCD they are not designed for touch in fact many have a thin plastic film that can be easily cut with something sharp and the screen will bleed and become useless. Many other have a precision surface that are not designed for constant cleaning, liquids etc and the removal of finger prints is a constant necessity. Actually in the USA the health issues of using touch screens is coming to the fore as it becomes easy for bacteria etc to be transitted due to constant various cleanliness and personal hygiene standards. Its like would you use a touch screen near a toilet…hardly.

So the glass also provides a surface that is easily cleaned and provides protection to the display surface. Even with plasma and the glass surface, yes you can clean it and in many cases anyway it is not glass but plastic and in both cases can be scratched, fine abrasions as it is soft. unlike in your home where you never go touch the screen in public people can be brutal on equipment and so again you don’t want your nice touch screen installation to have to have scratches or un-removable marks, so hence the reason we normally would use glass, essentially as a protective layer. One way your client can test this is to ring Panasonic and ask..we are turning the model into touch screen without a glass proteective sheet, will you give us a warranty cover for the surface if 300 people each day are constantly touching the surface.

Also be aware that the constant touching of a spot where the buttons are will eventually polish and mark that area of the screen surface and make it dull….just like new path in the jungle..eventually it becomes a solid path of dirt as the surface layer is worn away.

Another way to think of it, would they be happy to have a simple plasma (non touch) on display where anyone can go and rub their hands all over the front and not be concerned, typically they would be concerned, so simply adding a bare touch frame and expecting people to place their hands all over the screen does not lessen the chance of damage.

In addition any casual cleaning fluids used could easily void your warranty on the surface. Any lcd / plasma starts to get a well used look when constantly touched and wiped down , even with water, hence we strongly recommend glass protection to keep it fresh etc, otherwise you’ll find people reluctant to use the screen. Glass cover easily solves these issues.

Of course your client is free to use with or without, but it is our responsibility to give you professional opinion to ensure the project works well on day one and day 500.

So there you have it, why we would recommend using a glass preventive sheet in front
Posrted by Kevin Andreassend, Managing Director, ICE AV Technology Ltd, iQRite Touch Div

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