Tag Archives: human machine interfaces

AutomoBlog features Atmel’s AvantCar concept

Earlier this week, Atmel showcased its AvantCar curved touch screen console concept at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. As Atmel Marketing Director Stephan Thaler notes, the exhibit demonstrates the future of human machine interface (HMI) in upcoming vehicles. 

Indeed, the fully functional console features two large curved touchscreen displays – without mechanical buttons. Instead, the touchscreens integrate capacitive touch buttons and sliders, allowing users to navigate general applications typically found within an automotive center console.

Atmel’s CES 2014 AvantCar demo was covered by a number of publications and journalists during the show, including Chris Nagy of AutomoBlog.

“No longer accepting that a touch interface or screens must be flat, convex and concave shapes could be commonplace. The majority of devices [at CES 2014] showing off curved displays are smartphones and televisions. However, one company at CES is marketing the potential of curved touch controls in future automotive interiors,” writes Nagy.

“Atmel has brought an array of ideas purposing to change the way driver’s interact with their cars. Exhibited on their AvantCar concept, Atmel’s high-tech interior features reveal several advancements meant to make the interaction with vehicle controls more natural and attractive. While Atmel’s local interconnect networking systems will probably appeal fascinating to automotive engineers, a large touchscreen with an ultra sensitive, high response rate exhibited within the AvantCar’s center console can easily entice the broad audience of gadget-loving motorists.”

In his AvantCar article, Nagy also highlights the importantl role Atmel’s XSense technology plays in the demo and beyond.

“Employing a surface utilizing metal mesh technology, the XSense touch sensor residing inside an automobile could greatly contribute to sound ergonomics and interior style,” says Nagy.

“Perhaps the first spot coming to mind for the use of Atmel’s XSense technology would be creating curved vehicle infotainment displays operating on MyFord Touch or the systems related to newly-announced Android-based consoles.”

As the journalist points out, XSense offers a stylish, viable alternative to mechanical switches, knobs and buttons found in almost every modern vehicle interior.

“On future vehicles, windows, door locks and climate controls could potentially be operated through touch with XSense. Who knows, maybe the steering wheel could also be replaced with a wheel-like touch sensor on a future car,” he adds.

“Atmel champions the longevity and weatherproof of the XSense touch sensor as being beneficial for applications within future vehicle interiors. The wide-scale possibilities of curved touch sensors will also serve as a blessing to the interior stylists for major auto companies as a full-range of shapes can be presented in a cutting-edge fashion.”

Front and center with Atmel’s ARM-powered SAM9

Atmel’s versatile ARM-powered SAM9 has popped up in a number of recent Bits & Pieces articles lately. So today we will be taking a closer look at the most current SAM9 MCU lineup (SAM9G15, SAM9G25, SAM9G35, SAM9X25, SAM9X35) which is capable of driving a wide range of hardware-based applications, including industrial communicationsPLC systems & I/O modules, human machine interfaces and the industrial Matrix-505 by Artila Electronics.

“Essentially, Atmel’s ARM926-based Atmel SAM9 microcontrollers deliver expanded feature sets – including enhanced display and connectivity peripherals – offering engineers the flexibility to design industrial and commercial applications that make a difference,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“High levels of performance and integration coupled with reduced system cost make Atmel SAM9 processors ideal for main-powered, cost-sensitive applications such as industrial and building control, HVAC, POS terminals, smart grid, printers and medical.”

In terms of integration, connectivity peripherals include up to three USB ports, CAN, Ethernet, SDIO/SDCard/MMC and a unique integrated soft modem. Meanwhile, display peripherals boast a graphics LCD controller with 4-layer overlay and 2D acceleration (picture-in-picture, alpha-blending, scaling, rotation, color conversion), camera and touch-screen interfaces.

“For high-performance architecture, Atmel’s SAM9 series features a processor clock running at 400 MHz, along with a high data-bandwidth architecture based on a multi-layer bus matrix with dual 8-channel central Direct Memory Access (DMA) controllers,” the engineering rep continued. “Plus, the lineup offers dedicated DMAs to support the high-speed connectivity peripherals.”


As expected, the above-mentioned devices offer LPDDR, DDR2 and MLC NAND Flash support, in addition to SDRAM and NOR Flash, with boot from NAND Flash, SDCard, DataFlash or serial DataFlash. They also support up to 24-bit error code correction on MLC NAND Flash. As with other Atmel MCUs, full-featured evaluation kits are available with free board support packages (BSP) for Linux, with development tools, OS, middleware products and support from industry-leading partners.

Last, but certainly not least, power consumption is only 300µW/MHz at 400MHz operation and 8µA in backup mode, with 3.3V IOs eliminating the need for external level shifters while 0.8mm ball pitch packages simplify PCB design.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out our breakdown of SAM9-based devices below for specific key specs: