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Capacitive Sensor and Touch-Sensing Software Enable Cost-Effective Touch Panel Interfaces

Wed, 11/04/2009 - 9:17am
Freescale Semiconductor has added the MPR121 ultra-low-power capacitive sensor and a touch sensing software (TSS) suite compatible with more than 300 of its 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) to its portfolio of products. With these new offerings, Freescale enables customers to choose the best fit for their interface designs across a broad spectrum of consumer and industrial applications.

Manufacturers are rapidly migrating from resistive to capacitive touch technology to answer the demand for intuitive user interfaces that enhance interactivity and improve end-product functionality.

Touch sensing technology boosts reliability by eliminating mechanical wear and tear. In addition, user interface controllers can manage multiple configurations and provide greater flexibility, helping reduce overall system cost.

Freescale’s second-generation MPR121 capacitive touch sensor provides highly reliable touch detection through increased electrode count and integration of automatic calibration and area detection systems.

The 12-pad touch sensor is available in the industry’s smallest lead-free package and offers the lowest power consumption at 29 µA average supply current, helping OEMs meet aggressive power targets.

The TSS suite provides an alternate solution by enabling the integration of touch sensing functionality into applications based on Freescale 8-bit MCUs.

The suite speeds development by delivering pre-configured software that enables a range of popular features including rotary, slider and keypad functionality. The complimentary software also helps lower system cost by eliminating the need for additional sensor silicon in many designs.

The MPR121 features increased internal intelligence and includes Freescale’s second-generation capacitance detection engine. Major additions to the MPR121 include an increased electrode count for more reliable touch detection, a hardware-configurable I2C address, an expanded filtering system with debounce and completely independent electrodes with auto-configuration built in.

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