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Touch devices support shieldless sensor design

Posted: 07 Mar 2012     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Touch controller  shieldless sensor  multi-touch gestures 

Atmel Corp. introduces automotive-qualified maXTouch devices for 5inch to 10inch automotive touchscreens and touchpads used in centre stack displays, navigation systems, radio human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and rear-seat entertainment systems.

The automotive-qualified devices include the maXTouch mXT768E and the maXTouch mXT540E, which are part of a family known for its superior performance and rich feature set, according to Atmel. This family offers unlimited touch identification, fast response time, exacting precision, robust operation and low power consumption.

The mXT768E and mXT540E devices are fully automotive-qualified (Grade 2, AEC-Q100-compliant), supporting a temperature range of -40 up to +105°C. In addition, they provide dedicated embedded functionality that meets automotive design requirements, according to the company.

Support for shieldless sensors is an important requirement for automotive designs. With maXTouch automotive-qualified devices, designers can use single-layer sensors instead of dual or even triple layers, as is currently applied in many applications. Conventional touch controllers are unable to handle LCD noise, so a shield is required to prevent noise coupling. Automotive-qualified maXTouch devices provide superior noise immunity, eliminating the need for shields. This, in turn, enables single-layer sensor designs for thinner stacks, which reduces system complexity, lowers overall cost and power consumption, and results in higher product yield during automotive systems production. The high signal-to-noise ratio of 80:1 in automotive-qualified maXTouch devices is targeted at very noisy environments. Since only a high signal-to-noise ratio enables detection of touches with a "gloved" finger, the devices provide full support for gloved hand operation on automotive touchscreens, notes Atmel.

The mXT768E/ mXT540E devices also embed single- and dual-touch gesture calculation as well as post-processing algorithms which eliminate unintended touches. Users can perform multi-touch gestures (pinch, stretch, etc.), while unintended touches such as a resting hand on the screen are classified and rejected. These functionalities are said to bring the smartphone experience into contemporary cars.

Additional maXTouch capabilities targeting automotive applications include frequency hopping during burst generation, self-calibration, detect integration addressing EMI/EMC requirements and high reliability in harsh environments. With a scan speed of up to 150Hz, design engineers can provide character recognition for alphanumeric inputs to the automotive HMI interfaces, another key feature for modern cars.

Samples of automotive-qualified mXT768E and mXT540E touch controllers are available now in TQFP100 packages. Demo kits for both devices are also available to support design-in and shorten time to market.

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