Touchscreens are the primary way to control most of the in-car applications being developed today.
In Chapter 3, I showed you how to install a VGA touchscreen in the dashboard [Hack #26] . And for good reason—not only are VGA screens sharper and far more readable than most other screens because of their higher resolution, but with a touchscreen interface you can eliminate the need for a mouse, a remote, and even a keyboard.
As an in-car user interface, touchscreens are one of the most attractive approaches out there. They are easy to use, with the big, ATM-style menus (Figure 5-4) that characterize the state of the in-car PC software art.
A touchscreen basically emulates a mouse. The major vendors of touchscreens for in-car use are Xenarc and Lilliput. These manufacturers include software to drive their screens that can run on most versions of Windows, Mac OS, and Linux (see http://www.xenarc.com/download.html and http://www.newision.com/download.htm).
Figure 5-4. A touchscreen with an easy-to-touch interface
When emulating a mouse, touchscreens work quite well. When you touch any point on the screen, the application responds just as if the mouse pointer had been moved to that spot and the button pressed. Holding your finger down (with most of the drivers) simulates a right-click, and a contextual menu will pop up as expected. The influences ...