Electronic – How to a capacitive touch screen be triggered without human contact


I want to robotically touch an iPhone screen without any human intervention.

I've done some experiments but have not found a reliable solution. It seems even styluses that work through gloves still rely on the capacitive characteristics of the human body.

  • Carrot held by human works
  • Carrot held in plastic clamp doesn't
  • Pogo Stylus works held by human and held by human through clothes
  • Stylus does not work held in plastic clamp.
  • Stylus works held in plastic clamp attached to human through clothes via jump lead.
  • Stylus held in plastic clamp with jump lead dangling off seems to work most the time.

Is it possible to mimic the human element using capacitors and other components? What signal does the capacitive screen need to be triggered?


Best Answer

I haven't actually done this, but it seems the problem is the objects you are using are too small and don't have enough ambient capacitance. A human touching something adds capacitive coupling to the environment. Think of the size and surface area difference between a carrot and a carrot+human.

You should be able to use something conductive that is covered by a thin insulating layer, then connect the conducive part to a conductive plate under the iPhone or to ground. In this case "conductive" only needs to be not a good insulator. As you found, even something like a carrot is conductive enough. Try connecting a ground clip to the other end of the carrot, or connect it to the chassis of your machine.

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