Debouncing is the technique of detecting and removing multiple state changes from a hardware device (most commonly a push-button switch) caused when the mechanical contacts touch. Because of tiny imperfections in switch contacts, as the contacts come together and make a conductive circuit, the actual resistance jumps up and down multiple times in quick succession (this is the bouncing). Although the human eye cannot see this when a light is turned on in a house, this bouncing can cause problems for logic which is expecting a single state tradition (e.g. a microcontroller which is counting button presses).
A schmitt trigger can be used to avoid “grey areas” of digital logic.
Another way to debounce inputs is to use firmware. Assuming the button is connected to the input of a microcontroller, it is normally simpler, cheaper, and easier to do the debouncing in firmware than hardware.
The Ganssle group, A Guide To Debouncing, is an awesome, in-depth investigation into switch debouncing. If you are reading up on this topic, it is a must see!
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