During the rapid rise of the computer in the second half of the twentieth century, people were always searching for the next best way to interact with them. The early days of punched cards and paper tape became too cumbersome as computers advanced and keyboards became the input device of choice.
In the 1960s, U.S. inventor Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse, which represented a milestone in computer interaction. The next big leap forward came in 1971 when Dr. Samuel C. Hurst invented the electronic touch screen interface. While teaching at the University of Kentucky, he was faced with the daunting task of reading a huge amount of data from a strip chart. Realizing that this work would normally take graduate students at least two months to complete, he decided to work on an easier method.
What he came up with was the Elograph coordinate measuring system. It was an input tablet that could measure where the user was pressing a stylus. Hurst quickly formed the Biographies company (now Elo Touch Systems) to make and sell the device. Working furiously to develop their concept, Hurst and his team took just three years to make a proper transparent version that could sit over a screen. Four years later, in 1977, they came up with what was to become the most popular technology for touch screens today. The five-wire resistive touch screen contains transparent layers that are squeezed together by the pressure of a finger touching them. Easily translated into electrical resistive data, this modern touch screen is durable and offers high resolution.