How Does a Tablet PC Work?

by Contributor

Apply a Stimulus

Tablet PCs are best thought of as touch-screen PCs. Touch screens begin operation as soon as a stimulus is applied. In the case of tablet PCs, this stimulus is generally a stylus pen.

Change Electrical Field

Conductive and resistive metal plates in the scree act together to process where on the screen you touched. The plates each have a respective electrical field running through them. When pressure is applied, the plates meet in the exact same spot, and the electrical field alters.

Determine Coordinates

The alteration of the electrical field allows the computer processor to determine the coordinates of your touch. This allows the computer to know the exact location on the screen that you put your stylus.

Translate Information

Once the computer has the coordinates of your touch, a special driver translates the impulse into something the computer's processor can understand. This is very similar in action to what happens when you click your mouse.

Complete the Action

The computer processes the translated information and acts accordingly, whether it be a click, a slide or writing.


The handwriting recognition feature of tablet PCs functions by converting the handwriting into an image. The computer logs this image and then analyzes it. Any future writing is converted into an image and checked against all the other images that have been stored and analyzed. This allows the computer to recognize what you are writing for when it converts your handwriting into type.

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