If you were to touch a digital display screen with a normal glove, you would probably get burned. Touching a physical display screen without a glove can also be dangerous. Grown-ups shouldn’t need a protective glove to hold themselves to a checkbook. Why do gloves fail to work on touch screens? It all has to do with the finger’s construction and the mechanical design of a common glove.
Let’s start with the glove’s finger. A typical glove has a thick, hard outer layer made of Kevlar or similar metal. The thicker the finger, the harder it is to bend the glove. In this way, it ensures that your finger will stick to the screen.
But when you apply pressure to a display screen, you apply it to your fingers. You don’t stick your fingers to a hard surface, so why do gloves fail to work? First, the hard surface irritates the skin. The skin is meant to protect our fingers from things like dirt and dust. When we rub a hard material against our skin, the material rubs back and irritates the skin even more, causing even more irritation.
This causes a problem for gloves. Gloves are supposed to be used to protect your fingers from physical contact with a hard surface. When touching a display screen, you stick your finger to it and then rub your finger against the screen. If the display has a rough, slippery surface, the friction caused by the finger’s motion against the screen causes the display to ripple and shake. You should not have to keep rubbing your finger against the screen, and it certainly shouldn’t rub your skin.
You also have to take into account the mechanical design of most gloves. If you wear a glove that does not provide adequate air flow around your finger, you will feel hot on the tip of your finger and in your palm. This discomfort can cause you to lose some of the tactile information provided by a display. It’s not enough to have a glove that does the job – you need one that’s comfortable and appropriate. It’s not that uncomfortable when you’re using the gloves – it’s the discomfort of having to wear them.
So, in summary, while a glove may seem like a good idea when you are considering whether or not to use a particular device, the problem lies in the mechanical design of most gloves, as well as the way that they can interfere with your ability to get a sense of your finger’s actual physical contact with the screen. In short, the question “Why do gloves not work on touch screens?” is one of those that’s easier to answer than the question “How do gloves work?” The answer to both of these questions is that gloves should be used in a manner that prevents too much physical contact with the equipment – otherwise, you just won’t get a sense of how your finger is actually feeling.