Tag Archives: flexible touch sensors

Atmel and Corning collaborate on next-gen touch

Atmel and Corning have teamed up to develop ultra-thin capacitive touchscreens with superior multi-touch performance for next-gen applications.


More specifically, the collaboration combines Atmel’s XSense flexible touch sensors with 0.4mm damage-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass. Together, they deliver optimized capacitive touch performance via thinner flat or curved cover glass.

Additionally, the unique circuit design of Atmel’s XSense enables narrower device borders, allowing for a more optimal viewing area. The combination allows industrial designers to create phones, tablets, notebooks and other multi-touch devices with sleeker, lighter and more contemporary touch interfaces without sacrificing reliability or performance.

It should be noted that touch modules using cover glass thinner than 0.5 mm with relatively low conductive materials and non-optimal microcontrollers have been difficult to implement due to low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and aliased touch events – resulting in unsatisfactory multi-touch performance. 

XSense, combined with 0.4mm or curved Corning Gorilla Glass, enables exceptional multi-touch sensor panels that are thin, light, and damage-resistant.

“Our collaboration with Atmel accelerates the move toward thinner cover glass and enables the use of curved touchscreens for our customers designing next-generation applications,” said James Nagel, division vice president, Program Development, Corning Gorilla Glass, Corning Specialty Materials. “The toughness of 0.4mm and curved Gorilla Glass, coupled with the remarkable touch performance and flexibility of XSense enables the most exciting consumer experience in the market today.”

Jalil Shaikh, vice president and general manager of Touch Materials, Atmel Corporation, expressed similar sentiments.

“Designers are demanding thinner and lighter touchscreens but cannot compromise on multi-touch performance,” he explained. 

“The combination of Corning’s Gorilla Glass with Atmel’s XSense, flexible touch sensor delivers industry-leading, multi-touch performance while enabling thinner mobile devices with cutting-edge curved surfaces for tomorrow’s consumer applications.”

A sample device that pairs Atmel XSense flexible touch sensors with 0.4mm Gorilla Glass will be on display at Computex Taipei in Taiwan, June 3-7.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s XSense? You can check out our Bits & Pieces article archive on the subject here.

Electronics Weekly talks Atmel touch chips

Earlier this week, Atmel expanded its popular maXTouch T lineup of touchscreen controllers with the mXT640T, mXT336T and mXT224T. The new devices offer a comprehensive set of features, supporting next-gen mobile devices such as smartphones, phablets and mid-size tablets with touchscreens ranging from 3.2”-8.3.”

In covering the launch, Steve Bush of Electronics Weekly (EW) noted that there are now 20 DACs taking data off 20 sense wires followed by parallel processing, compared with 18 wires multiplexed onto fewer ADCs before. In addition, having moved to a 130nm process for the new chips, there was also room for Atmel to replace the 8-bit processor with a 32-bit AVR core.

“It is a lot more power efficient and has a lot more processing capability for a lot more intelligence: large finger detection, palm rejection, water rejection and charger noise immunity,” Atmel product marketing manager Tony Xia told Electronics Weekly. “And it can work with xSense, our scheme to use fine copper wires to replace ITO.”

As well as replacing increasingly hard to get ITO (indium tim oxide), xSense reduces sense line impedance, allowing the wire to be charged and read faster. Simply put, with more sense cycles in a fixed time, statistical processing can reduce the effective signal-to-noise ratio.

“Charger noise rejection is actually a combination of better numerical processing, actively hopping the read frequency away from the charger band, and analogue processing,” Xia explained.

In terms of interacting with water and gloves, Xia confirmed there “is no impairment” for condensation with a finger.

“[Similarly, with] wet hands from washing, there is no problem; up to a few drops, there is no false touch,” he stated. “[Plus], a lot of smartphones today won’t work with gloves at all. [In contrast], ours worked well with 20 different gloves we were presented with on one customer visit.”

Lastly, said Xia, passive styluses no longer need to be conductive and in electrical contact with the user.

“We tried it with a cheap mechanical pencil with an 0.5mm lead and it worked,” he added.

2013 CES, Here We Come!

Ultra HD TVs. Windows 8 tablets. Large-screen smartphones. Bendable screens. These are just a few of the new gadgets that promise to fill the booths at the Las Vegas Convention Center next week. It’s time for the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

This is an exciting period not just for the OEMs that are producing these gadgets, but also for the companies behind many of the underlying technologies that are making these gadgets possible. Take microcontrollers (MCUs), for example. Microcontrollers are powering many of the world’s smart, connected devices. Some studies have revealed that on a given day–at work, home and play–we’re likely to interact with as many as 150 MCUs in the digital devices and systems that we use. It’s the spread of The Internet of Things, and MCUs are right at the core.

At CES, Atmel will host a meeting room where customers can see demos of MCUs and other products and meet with Atmel Technology Experts and executives. To schedule a meeting, contact your local sales rep or email events@atmel.com. In addition, CES attendees can see our ZigBee Light Link and Wireless Composer/Sniffer solutions in the ZigBee Pavilion; our meeting room will feature a selection of other wireless solutions.

From our microcontroller portfolio, we’ll be showcasing demos including:

With the dazzling array of touch-based products that typically fill the CES show floor, Atmel is excited to be behind many of the technologies that give these products their distinct capabilities. The newest touchscreen controllers in our maXTouch S Series are Windows 8 certified, feature integrated sensor hub technology and support screen sizes up to 17.3″. At CES, we’ll demo sensor hub technology on a Windows 8 tablet.

We are also excited to share the newest demos of our XSense flexible touch sensors. These demos highlight some key features of XSense for smartphones, tablets and other industrial designs: narrow borders, support for curved surfaces, support for larger touchscreens.

We look forward to meeting many of you at 2013 CES!