Tag Archives: QMatrix

Building Human Machine Interfaces (HMI) with Atmel tech

A Human Machine Interface, or HMI, typically includes a number of components required to signal and control the state of industrial automation equipment. These interface products can range from a basic LED status indicator to a 20-inch TFT panel with a touchscreen interface.

Unsurprisingly, HMI applications require mechanical robustness and resistance to water, dust, moisture, a wide range of temperatures and, in some environments, secure communication with Ingress Protection (IP) ratings up to IP65, IP67 and IP68.

We at Atmel offer a versatile and extensive portfolio of devices that can be used to design various aspects of a human machine interface.

“For example, our unique capacitive QTouch technology, SAM9 microprocessors and CryptoAuthentication devices enable designers to meet the above-mentioned requirements and more with an optimized BOM,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“Plus, Atmel tech supports high source and sink output IO capabilities up to 60mA for direct drive of LEDs, with high-speed PWM units enabling LED dimming and screen back-lighting. And due to its superior field penetration, our touch technology operates through 6mm thick, non-conductive surfaces.”

The engineering rep also noted that the optimized signal-to-noise ratio of the Atmel QMatrix touch technology helps make the design immune to water, moisture, or dust – enabling operators to use gloves. In addition, Atmel’s capacitive touch tech eases design of full hermetic or sealed products, while power efficiency works to minimize heat dissipation.

“It should also be noted that Atmel’s touch spread spectrum frequency implementation helps designers meet electro-magnetic emission requirements,” the engineering rep continued. “And that is why our industrial microprocessor product portfolio with integrated LCD, combined with the our QTouch technology, are the ideal candidates for an engineer’s next control panel design. On the security side, Atmel’s CryptoAuthentication family of hardware security devices provides cost effective solutions for authenticated and encrypted communications between HMI and industrial equipment.”

Specific examples of Atmel tech powering HMI devices? Well, LED indicators and mechanical switches are a leading HMI for industrial applications – with Atmel’s AVR and AT91SAM microcontrollers offering a variety of benefits. Similarly, Atmel’s capacitive touch technology for HMI helps protect industrial interface modules, while increasing design flexibility and enhancing UI look and feel. Meanwhile, Atmel’s industrial control panels with LCD Displays provides HMI operators with an efficient, flexible way to monitor and control increasingly complex automated processes, with hardware security products protecting firmware integrity from tampering to assure continuous and reliable performance.

“Atmel HMI solutions help reduce board space and enable a lower BOM, simply because they do not require a separate LCD controller chip, or an external resistive touchscreen chip, with standard DDR2 external memory providing lower cost and longer availability,” the engineering rep added.

“Last, but certainly not least, Atmel solutions also provide high performance with high-speed communication and are available with ready-to-use software support. Of course, an evaluation kit is available for each Atmel SAM9 with free Linux distribution and Microsoft Windows Embedded CE BSP.”

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s tech portfolio for powering HMI devices? A complete device breakdown is available here.

Cooking with Atmel MCUs

Did you know that some scientists believe the advent of cooking played an important role in human evolution? Indeed, most anthropologists theorize that cooking fires first developed around 250,000 years ago, with the rise of agriculture, commerce and transportation between civilizations in different regions offering cooks many new ingredients.

Clearly, we’ve come a long way since the days when humans roasted meat on a spit over an open fire without any utensils, appliances or kitchens to be seen. Today, however, cooking appliances such as stoves, microwave ovens and conventional ovens typically require a combination of temperature and mass sensors, programmable timers and sophisticated motor control for relevant components. A number of current-gen units include remote controls, as well as rich, responsive touch control interfaces which are key for ease of use.

Now we’ve discussed quite a number of use cases for Atmel MCUs over the past few days, including automotive, lighting, telecare and even washing machines. So it shouldn’t come as much surprise to readers of Bits & Pieces that Atmel also offers a lineup of touch solutions and customizable microcontrollers which are ideal to power a wide range of cooking appliances.

Indeed, AVR microcontrollers are available in 105°C versions, as well as models up to 150°C, which are perfect for high temperature cooking requirements. Plus, Atmel offers a wide range of 8- and 32-bit microcontrollers dedicated to motor control – providing support for BLDC motors, AC motors and switched reluctance motors.

AVR 32-bit microcontrollers also feature a multi-layer databus and DMA controller that make them a perfect fit for HMI applications where high bandwidth is required. Meanwhile, robust touch sensor technology, coupled with Atmel’s QTouch library, allows designers to add capacitive touch buttons, sliders and wheels – without additional cost.


In addition, native 5 volts support is available on the Atmel megaAVR and Atmel tinyAVR microcontrollers (MCUs), with high integration solutions, such as motor control and HMI touch in a single-chip, helping to reduce BOM. ZigBee PRO compatibility enables standards-compliant connectivity and smart metering, with node authentication capability supports smart meter infrastructure connections.

And last, but certainly not least, Atmel’s QMatrix technology offers a robust method to implement buttons and sliders in capacitive touch-technology, while built-in support for water rejection makes the QTouch solutions ideal for demanding environments.

Interested in learning more? Additional information about Atmel MCUs targeting various cooking appliances can be found here.