- Dec 11, 2017 -
For a capacitive touchscreen—the technology used in most touch-capable phones, tablets, and computers today—to register that you’re asking it to do something, you have to poke it with something that conducts electricity, such as a finger or a stylus designed for the purpose.
Most ordinary gloves and mittens insulate against the conductivity of your body. So if you want to use a touchscreen while wearing gloves, the solution—apart from taking the gloves off—is to wear gloves that are conductive. Glove manufacturers use one of three ways to achieve this conductivity.
The first method, which was common among early attempts at touchscreen gloves, involves sewing patches of conductive material into the fingertips. Some manufacturers still do this, but gloves made using this method wear out quickly.
The second method is to weave conductive thread (typically silver or copper; the two have about the same performance and durability) into the fabric, either just in the fingertips or throughout the glove. The thread conducts electricity from a finger to the tip of the glove covering that finger.
The third method, used in leather gloves, is to imbue the leather with nano-particles of silver, an approach that produces full-hand conductivity. This technology is more forgiving of a loose fit than knit gloves with conductive thread, because the leather can conduct electricity from any part of your hand to any fingertip.
(You can make your existing gloves touchscreen capable by sewing special thread into them or treating them with special drops, but judging from the cost and reviews of those items, we recommend simply buying a proven pair.)