Atmel claims “lowest power capacitive touch” for wearables

December 18, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
An additional QTouch offering in the Atmel | SMART Microcontroller product line enables, Atmel says, designers to bring ultra-low power capacitive touch surface designs to market

QTouch Surface is a platform for capacitive touch-enabled user interfaces that builds on the QTouch capacitive touch button sensing technology supported by Atmel | SMART MCUs. This development includes an on-chip peripheral touch controller (PTC), the technology that enables higher performance capacitive touch on Atmel MCUs. Consuming less than 4 µA, the QTouch Surface technology is suitable for wearables and other battery-powered applications that require a capacitive touch user interface.

User interfaces in consumer products such as wearable/IoT devices, remote controls and PC/gaming controls are being driven by the massive adoption of touchscreens in smart phones and tablets, notes Atmel, adding that products in this new category require a surface solution with lower power consumption and higher cost optimisation that do not require the performance from higher-end touchscreen controllers.

The QTouch Surface solution uses only a fraction of the resources in Atmel | SMART MCUs and can be implemented with virtually zero cost since one Atmel controller can be used for both the application and capacitive touch user interface.

Key features of the QTouch Surface Platform include:

- lowest power capacitive touch surface control with a wake-up on a surface touch from a standby current down to 4µA

- works with all Atmel | SMART MCUs featuring the Peripheral Touch Control using less than 10% CPU processing power

- supports multi touch on the following surface size ranges; 2.7 in. with 2 mm touch separation (edge to edge); 5.5 in. with 14 mm touch separation (edge to edge)

- scan rates up to 100Hz

Software and hardware tools include

- the QTouch Surface Library and QTouch Composer support for QTouch Surface, which will be available free of charge in the Atmel Gallery.

- Xplained Pro, Atmel's hardware development platform, to support the QTouch Surface Platform.