"How does the ipod touch wheel work", Under the plastic surface of the Click Wheel, there are four mechanical buttons (Menu, back, forward, play/pause), and there's one button in the center (select).

Click Wheel face

There are five buttons and five corresponding contacts on the motherboard. When we press, say, the right side of the wheel while you're listening to a song, the wheel pushes down the forward button. The underside of each rubber button is metal, so pressing it completes the corresponding circuit on the motherboard. The motherboard tells the processor this circuit is complete, and the processor tells the operating system to fast-forward through the song.


The Click Wheel's touch-sensitive function lets us move through lists, adjust volume and fast forward through a song by moving finger around the stationary wheel. It works a lot like a laptop touchpad. In fact, the company that supplied the Click Wheel for the 4G iPod was Synaptics, most widely known for making laptop touchpad's. For the 5G, Apple created its own proprietary Click Wheel design based on the same capacitive sensing principle as the previous Synaptics-designed Click Wheel.

Under the plastic cover of the Click Wheel, there is a membrane embedded with metallic channels. Where the channels intersect, a positional address is created, like coordinates on a graph.

At its most basic, a capacitive-sensing system works like this: The system controller supplies an electrical current to the grid. The metal channels that form the grid are conductors -- they conduct electricity. When another conductor -- say, finger -- gets close to the grid, the current wants to flow to the finger to complete the circuit. But there's a piece of nonconductive plastic in the way -- the Click Wheel cover. So the charge builds up at the point of the grid that's closest to the finger. This build-up of an electrical charge between two conductors is called capacitance.
The closer the two conductors are without touching,
the greater the capacitance.

The "sensing" part of the system comes in with the controller. The Click Wheel controller (see above) is programmed to measure changes in capacitance. The greater the change in capacitance at any given point, the closer the finger must be to that point. When the controller detects a certain change in capacitance, it sends a signal to the microprocessor. As we move finger around the wheel, the charge build-up moves around the wheel with it. Every time the controller senses capacitance at a given point, it sends a signal. That's how the Click Wheel can detect speed of motion -- the faster we move our finger around the wheel, the more compacted the stream of signals it sends out. And as the microprocessor receives the signals, it performs the corresponding action -- increasing the volume, for instance. When the finger stops moving around the wheel, the controller stops detecting changes in capacitance and stops sending signals, and the microprocessor stops increasing the volume.



2 comments

  1. Anonymous  

    April 25, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    thats not an ipod touch -_-

  2. Taniya Bragg  

    December 13, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    yes i think its screen touch i pod.



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