Tactile switches are user-equipment interface utilities that are characterized by a discernible response to the application of pressure by a user.
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Applications of Tactile Switches
All kinds of industrial, commercial, and consumer products are accessed through switches, keyboards, panels, screens, and other interfaces. Because there are so many kinds of electronic devices that receive commands through switches and panels, a wide variety of switch and panel configurations are necessary to accommodate them. Tactile switches distinguish themselves from other switch varieties in that their use involves a sensation that indicates to users whether or not the desired change to the connected circuit was effected by the depression of the switch.
Tactile Switch Design and Function
The properties and characteristics of different switch varieties vary depending on their application. For example, a switch placed on an outdoor garage door opener must be shielded against variable weather and temperature conditions to a certain degree. An indoor switch, on the other hand, is less likely to be exposed to such hazards and does not require special protection from them. An important innovation in the ongoing development of switch technology was the tactile switch. Simply put, switches are a way to send a signal to an electronic device. When a switch is pressed, it either closes or opens an electrical circuit, which changes the way the connected device operates.
In some cases when a switch is depressed, a circuit connection or breakage is not made. This can be because of inadequate switch depression or for other reasons. A tactile switch indicates to its user that the appropriate action has been performed by providing resistance up to a certain point during its depression. The force required to overcome this resistance is called actuation force. When sufficient force is applied beyond that point, the resistance of the switch is overcome. This variability of actuation force, combined with an audible indication (a feature of many tactile switches), assures users that the intended change to a circuit has been made.
Tactile switches are constructed in many shapes and sizes. In most cases, they feature a metal or plastic covering, inner switch equipment, conductive materials, and resisting elements like a spring. Some are simply domes, which, when depressed sufficiently, suddenly collapse and then regain their shape when released. Using different sizes of metal domes or polydomes will vary the actuation force. Metal domes come in a large assortment of shapes and sizes, with actuation forces between 180 to 700 grams; different polydome actuation forces can be achieved by changing the diameter and height of the polydome to meet specific requirements. Tactile switches are available for all kinds of applications and are among the most widely used switch varieties.