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Quantum rolls touch sensor control IC

Posted: 30 Aug 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Quantum Research  touch sensor  capacitive touch  QT1106 

Quantum's QT1106 touch sensor IC

Quantum Research Group is offering the QT1106, a control IC that combines the functionality of a touch slider or wheel with seven additional keys.

The wheel or slider uses a simple, inexpensive sensing element between three connection points. The device detects a single rapid touch anywhere along the sense elements or tracks a finger moving along the wheel or slider surface in real-time to ascertain the absolute position.

You can independently tune the seven additional touch keys for sensitivity by changing an external capacitor, providing the basis of a complete user interface for any application in which a mechanical wheel, slider or switch would normally be used. The device has a 5-wire SPI interface.

Target applications include mobile phones, remote controls, small kitchen appliances, home audio, portable media players (including MP3 players) and lighting controls.

Quantum said its QT sensing technology allows electrodes, which can be made from any conductive material, to project sense fields through any dielectric—most commonly plastic or glass. An approaching finger causes a change in the sense field that registers as a touch. Unlike traditional capacitive touch sensors, Quantum said QT sensors feature automatic self-calibration for life on power-up. This eliminates long-term drift problems due to build up of contaminants on the touch surface or changing environmental conditions. A flexible low power mode enables system designers to optimise the trade-off between response time and power consumption, explained the company.

QT sensors use spread-spectrum burst technology to provide better than 20V/m noise rejection and the devices feature a sync mode to enable synchronisation with other similar parts, or with an external source, to suppress interference. Quantum said its patented adjacent key suppression (AKS) technique prevents multiple keys responding to a single touch. It compares the relative signal strength from each key within a group and suppresses touch detections from those keys that show a weaker signal change than the dominant one. Close spacing of keys can therefore be used, without introducing touch errors, Quantum explained.

The QT1106 comes in an RoHS-compliant, 32-QFN package and operates from a single 2.8-5V supply. It is currently available and priced at Rs.70.01 ($1.50) each for 10,000 piece quantities and falling to under Rs.46.67 ($1) at 100,000 pieces.

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