Ultra-low-power touch button controller for battery-powered applications

October 17, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
ATB352 expands Aito's touch technology into low-energy personal device and home automation markets

Aito BV, source of software-enhanced piezo (SEP) touch control technology, now has the ATB352 AitoTouchLE Controller, enabling devices with very tight energy budgets to take advantage of its configurable user interface. Typical applications range from home automation, including remote door entry and lighting controls, to battery-powered equipment for personal hygiene such as shavers, right through to products for the embryonic 'wearables' market. Most significantly, this low-energy implementation opens up opportunities for touch keys/switches in areas where capacitive sensing solutions are too power-hungry.

In its active-idle state, while waiting for user input, the ATB352 consumes as little as 0.5 μA, significantly less than competing touch control devices and without any performance trade-offs. Based on Aito's SEP technology, which allows touch buttons to be integrated into metal and other surfaces, the ATB352 supports up to five piezo touch key inputs in combination with various LED indicator and buzzer outputs - up to a maximum of 15 I/O channels.

Piezo sensing parameters for each key can be individually configured for sensitivity, detection area and to cope with different overlay stiffness or mechanical integration conditions. The LED indicator and audible buzzer responses for each button can also be individually defined with a customised feedback pattern.

"Applications which rely on battery power, or even energy harvesting, demand the most efficient design solutions", said Peter Kurstjens, Aito's Chief Commercial Officer, "But equally, these products deserve to benefit from the design aesthetics and quality user experience that our current AitoTouch products offer - which is exactly what the new AitoTouchLE family now delivers... The key Aito feature of robust and reliable operation, even with gloved hands or in the presence of water or other surface contaminants, is as vital for personal appliances and wearable devices as it is in more established applications such as kitchen appliances or medical electronics."

Aito; www.aitochip.com