Tag Archives: touch sensors

BeoSound Moment plays tunes that suit your mood

The latest innovation from Bang & Olufsen is an intelligent and sociable music system that integrates your music collection and streaming services into one.

Back at CES 2015, Copenhagen-based Bang & Olufsen debuted their incredibly innovative BeoSound Moment, which integrates sound collections and services into a playful music system boasting what is surely the world’s very first touch-sensitive wood interface. As advocates of both capacitive touch and Internet-enabled gadgets, we couldn’t help but to fall in love with this musical masterpiece. This smart device is packed with a number of features, including the company’s PatternPlay feature, which enables the system to learn the listening patterns of its users, suggest music or programs that fit a specific time, memorize preferences, and make listening both familiar and explorative with access to more than 35 million songs from streaming service Deezer.

Bang and Olufsen BeoSound Moment

“Over time, BeoSound Moment will gradually start to know your taste in music, and be able to play what you most likely want to hear, without you even having to ask. Just like friendship, it only gets better with time.”

With just one touch of the elegant oak panel, music begins to play based on a user’s personal preferences. Indeed, the BeoSound Moment comes in two parts: a dock/base station and a wooden-interfaced wireless control. The detachable, double-sided UI enables two different listening experiences. Those seeking a somewhat more traditional, controllable style should adhere to its aluminum panel, which is equipped with a touchscreen for engaging interaction. In essence, it’s a tablet.



However, flip it over and users will find an entirely look — an oak side donning wheel control designed for one-touch access to exactly the sound experience that fits the listener’s daily rhythm. The beautiful panel of touch-sensitive wood (embedded with capacitive sensors just under a thin layer of veneer) allows user to have their favorite music flowing from the speakers with just one touch on the wheel.

Since the dual-part BeoSound Moment system is compatible with B&O’s entire range of wired and wireless speakers, the device is capable of integrating digital tunes that best suit a listener’s mood. This works depending on how close their finger is to its center, as the very middle selects from a list of only favorites while the outer parameters tempts listeners to check out more adventurous songs. The MoodWheel is divided into a color gamut that ranges from melancholic blue over a passionate red zone to an energetic yellow area. Combined, these two dimensions on the intuitive MoodWheel offer limitless possibilities for defining your selection of music.

Intrigued? We sure were! You can learn more about the system by visiting its official page here.

The evolution of touch technology

It’s quite difficult to believe that just decades ago, the mere concept of a touch-enabled device could only be found in sci-fi flicks and novels. Nowadays, it’s practically impossible not to have a touchscreen gadget within an arm’s length. In fact, touchscreens are everywhere — from the thermostats in your homes, to center consoles of your cars, to the phones in your pockets.

In celebration of our 30th birthday here at Atmel, we’ve decided to not only reminisce our earliest days but to take a trip down memory lane to explore touch technology’s evolution from fiction to fact…


The Electronic Sackbut is designed by Hugh Le Caine at his home studio in Ottawa, Ontario.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)


E.A. Johnson invents the finger-driven, capacitive touchscreen at the Royal Radar Establishment in Malvern, United Kingdom.

(Source: Ars Technica)

(Source: Ars Technica)


Dr. G. Samuel Hurst designs the first resistive touchscreen — almost by accident.

(Source: elotouch)

(Source: elotouch)


PLATO IV not only became one of the first generalized computer-assisted instruction systems, but the first to be used in a classroom setting. Students could answer questions with the tap of a finger using the device’s infrared touch panel.

(Source: NPR)

(Source: NPR)


One of the early implementations of mutual capacitance touchscreen technology is developed at CERN.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)


University of Toronto’s Nimish Mehta develops the first human-controlled multi-touch device, dubbed the “Flexible Machine Interface.”

(Source: BillBuxton.com)

(Source: BillBuxton.com)


HP Series 100 HP-150 becomes one of the earliest touchscreen computers.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)

Myron Krueger introduces Video Place, a vision-based system capable of tracking hands, fingers and people using a set of gestures.

(Source: DivergencePress.com)

(Source: DivergencePress.com)


Bob Boie of Bell Labs officially develops the first multi-touch overlay.

(Source: Tested.com)

(Source: Tested.com)

Casio rolls out its AT-550 watch with a touchscreen.

(Source: Adafruit)

(Source: Adafruit)


The Buick Riviera features a touchscreen in its Graphic Control Center.

(Source: Popular Mechanics)

(Source: Popular Mechanics)


IBM and BellSouth debut the first-ever touchscreen phone, the Simon Personal Communicator.

(Source: GSMArena.com)

(Source: GSMArena.com)


Palm Inc. releases the Pilot, the first generation of its PDA devices.

(Source: Wikipedia)

(Source: Wikipedia)


Wayne Westerman and John Elias create FingerWorks, a company that specializes in multi-gesture input devices.

(Source: BillBuxton.com)

(Source: BillBuxton.com)


Alias|Wavefront launch the Portfolio Wall for large design and 3D animation teams.

(Source: Car Design News)

(Source: Car Design News)


Sony introduces mutual capacitive touch recognition with SmartSkin.

(Source: SonyCSL.co.jp)

(Source: SonyCSL.co.jp)


Andrew D. Wilson develops a gesture-based, 3D-capable imaging touchscreen called TouchLight.

(Source: Seattle Pi)

(Source: Seattle Pi)


JazzMutant releases the Lemur, a music controller with a multi-touch screen.

(Source: Technabob)

(Source: Technabob)


Jeff Han unveils an interface-free, touch-driven computer screen at TED.

(Source: TED.com)

(Source: TED.com)


Apple successfully releases its touchscreen-equipped iPhone.

(Source: TechnoBuffalo)

(Source: TechnoBuffalo)


Microsoft introduces the Surface table.



Nortd Labs launches TouchKit, a DIY modular development solution to make multi-touch readily available in an open source manner.

(Source: Nortd Labs)

(Source: Nortd Labs)


Apple introduces the iPad.

(Source: Discovery News)

(Source: Discovery News)


Microsoft and Samsung partner to introduce the SUR40 touch-capable surface with PixelSense.

(Source: SlashGear)

(Source: SlashGear)


Atmel XSense is introduced to the world, enabling future curved surfaces and flexible displays.

(Source: Atmel)

(Source: Atmel)


The Atmel team exhibits AvantCar, a fully-functional center console equipped with two large curved touchscreen displays – without mechanical buttons.

(Source: Atmel)

(Source: Atmel)

The burgeoning Maker Movement paves the way for Bare Conductive to launch its [ATmega32U4 powered] Touch Board, now enabling everyone to easily transform any material or surface into a touch sensor.



Whirlpool imagines a kitchen of the future with a touchscreen stovetop capable of displaying recipes, social feeds, weather and more.

(Source: Verge)

(Source: Verge)

A team from Carnegie Mellon University’s Future Interfaces Group creates Skin Buttons, touch-sensitive projected icons made on a user’s skin.

(Source: Atmel)

(Source: Atmel Blog)

The Centre for Process Innovation devises an idea to remove passenger plane windows and replace them with OLED touchscreens.

(Source: Centre for Process Innovation)

(Source: Centre for Process Innovation)

What will be next? As we gaze into the future, unlimited-touch capability will open up a range of endless possibilities for interface designers. From our touchscreen controllers to touch sensors and everything in between, Atmel has and will continue to provide the next-gen technologies enabling innovative and differentiated designs.

This smartwatch turns your skin into a touchscreen

Developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Future Interfaces Group, Skin Buttons are touch-sensitive projected icons made on a user’s skin.


While smartwatches are a promising new interactive platform, their small size makes even basic actions cumbersome. As a result, the Carnegie Mellon team has designed a new way to “expand the interactive envelope around smartwatches, allowing human input to escape the small physical confines of the device.”

Using tiny laser projects that are integrated into the smartwatch to render touch-sensitive icons allows for the expansion of the interaction region without increasing device size, and more importantly, sacrificing precious real estate on a wearer’s arm.

“Maybe in 15 or 20 years you’ll have a device that’s as powerful as a smartphone but has no screen at all,” explained Chris Harrison, Head of the Future Interfaces Group. “Instead it’s like a little box of matches that you plunk down on the table in front of you and now all of a sudden that table it interactive. Or a watch that’s screen-less. You could just snap your fingers and you whole arm becomes interactive.”

The proof-of-concept implementation can be used for a range of applications, many of which typically found on a mobile device, such as accessing music, reading emails and text messages, as well as checking the time or setting an alarm.

The prototype smartwatch contains four fixed-icon laser projectors along with accompanying infrared proximity sensors. These are connected to an ATmega328P based Femtoduino board, which communicates over USB with a host computer. Additionally, a 1.5-inch TFT LCD display is driven from a host computer. While the team used an external computer for prototyping, it appears that a commercial model would be self-contained.

“If you put a button on your skin, you expect people to be like, “What the, this is totally insane!” Harrison told Wired. “But actually people don’t generally react like that. People think it’s cool but they get over the coolness really fast and just start using it.”

Interested in learning more? You can access the team’s entire paper here, or head over to the Future Interfaces Group’s official website.

Electronic Design talks touch with Atmel’s Patrick Hanley

Electronic Design Technology Editor Bill Wong recently had the chance to catch up with Patrick Hanley, Atmel Product Marketing Manager for Touch Technology, to talk about recent market trends as well as the company’s latest offerings. The interview, which was published on September 26, 2014, can be found below.


Wong: What markets does Atmel play into?

Hanley: Atmel focuses on industrial, consumer, communications, computing, and automotive markets. We provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions by leveraging one of the industry’s broadest IP technology portfolios.

Wong: The world of touch-enabled devices is skyrocketing; from the proliferation of smartphones to tablets, almost everyone wants to tap a screen even if it’s not touch-enabled. What do you think has led to the widespread adoption?

Hanley: With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the general consumer market became more comfortable and aware of capacitive touch-enabled products to infiltrate our lives. For years prior, the idea of a capacitive touch was an unfamiliar concept that consumers were less comfortable with.

Today most individuals approach all displays with the assumption it is touch-enabled. The world of touch can be seen in a vast range of formats and devices, at its most basic levels in buttons, sliders, and wheels, to more advanced touchscreens that provide multiple, true X/Y coordinates. These touch devices also reach a multitude of applications. From GPS systems to wearables to all-in-one PCs, there is a place for touch in all of these devices.

Hanley: The mXT106xT family is a continuation of our T-series family of products. It is aimed at the largest growth touchscreen market, screens between 7 to 8.9-inches. We introduced adaptive sensing, which is a hybrid of mutual- and self-capacitance. This enables the best glove, finger hover sensing and stylus support available, even in the presence of moisture. Adaptive sensing is crucial, as it enables touch classification where the touch controller is able to determine the difference between a single finger, multi-touch, glove, hover, and stylus, and reacts to the user appropriately.

We unveiled several new features including the peripheral touch controller (PTC), the first touch controller that enables capacitive button capabilities within the same controller without compromising any additional x/y-lines. The PTC improves noise immunity, eliminates external components, and simplifies the sensor design. Additional features include voltage triplers and non-HDI (high-density interconnect) packages. The voltage tripler reduces external BOM components, saving the customer space and cost. The non-HDI package enables customers to reduce PCB layers, further reducing costs.

Wong: Sounds interesting. So, we all know device features are everything, starting from the initial touch performance carrying through to everything else that influences the UI. How is Atmel aiming to continue improving these features?

Hanley: The user interface can make or break the success of a product. An intuitive, yet attractive, UI can create demand for products where customers “have to have” these new products. This is the easiest way for an OEM to differentiate their end product.

Improving stylus performance is vital for a variety of applications and vertical markets. Active stylus support is becoming a must-have for higher-end tablets, which are typically identified for professional or artistic uses. Alternatively, passive stylus support is geared toward free-writing capabilities for general users as well as everyday uses. Passive stylus support carries universal stylus capabilities, even as standard as a no. 2 pencil, ultimately revolutionizing the “pen-to-paper” experience.

Atmel also offers features like hover support. We continuously improve range and accuracy while decreasing manufacturing costs through the flexibility of new materials, as well as enable immersive features like advanced gesturing. Features such as hover empower our devices to be able to think beyond the surface, creating the next wave of smart, intuitive products.

Wong: I also see that Atmel’s maXStylus was announced earlier this year at CES. How is this transforming the “pen-to-paper” experience?

Hanley: Historically, to achieve high performance with active stylus solutions, OEMs were spending upwards of $30, adding more inductive layers to the sensor stack-up. The maXStylus is the first capacitive active stylus to provide accurate active-pen performance without an additional sensor layer. This reduces the costs for tablets, laptops, and smartphones while maintaining excellent performance. The result for the user is fewer missing strokes, false detections, longer pen hover range, and more accurate and readable letters and characters. You can even go from using the stylus to your fingers without compromising performance or battery life.

Wong: What upcoming trends and user-interface technologies are you most excited about?

Hanley: Fingerprint security is exciting. It enables improved security with ease-of-use capabilities and more. 3D gesturing is another interesting and popular technology. As seen in the film Minority Report, technologies such as 3D gesturing and motion control allow users to interact with their devices without touching it. It gives you freedom both mentally and physically.

Additionally, Atmel is the leader in sensor hubs, which enable sensor fusion. Sensor fusion leads to more accurate readings of the movements, locations, temperatures, etc., of an object, all while increasing the battery life of the product despite the always-on capabilities.

At Atmel, we believe that these technologies are allowing OEMs and developers to create best-in-class products that let industry leaders create what they have always imagined.

Wong: Atmel recently announced the latest in touch with the introduction of the mXT106xT family. Can you elaborate?

Those interested in reading the complete interview can head over to Electronic Design here. You may also want to check out Patrick Hanley’s recent post on what factors to consider when selecting your next touch-enabled device.


4 in 10 smartphones will have flexible displays by 2018

According to market research firm DisplaySearch, the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market is expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year. This should come with little surprise following recent analyst forecasts projecting the flexible display market to cross the $3.89 billion threshold by 2020 – growing at an impressively high CAGR from 2014 to 2020.


It should also be noted that Jennifer Colegrove, who owns Touch Display Research in Santa Clara, California, says the potential market for XSense and similar technologies will increase from $200 million in 2013 to $4 billion by 2020, primarily for tablet computers and other larger mobile devices.

So far, tech giants Samsung and LG have jumped into the curved smartphone waters as seen during last October’s unveilings of both the Galaxy Round and LG G-Flex, respectively.

“Touchscreens that are thin, light, responsive, sleek and flexible create a multitude of possibilities for the future of design beyond familiar industrial and consumer applications, including wearables, mobile devices, automotive infotainment and other curved surfaces,” explained Jalil Shaikh, Atmel’s Vice President and GM.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, Atmel’s XSense continues to play a role in the rapidly evolving flexible display market. Essentially, XSense is a high-performance, highly flexible touch sensor which allows engineers to design devices with curved surfaces and even add functionality along product edges. This offers manufacturers the capability to build light-weight, sleek, edgeless smartphones, tablets and other touch-enabled devices.

Last month, EDN China selected XSense as a “Top 10 Most Influential Technologies for the Future.”


Interested in learning more about Atmel’s XSense? Head on over to Bits & Pieces article archive on the subject here or check out what some Makers are envisioning a future of flexible displays.

Atmel kicks off ToT selfie sweepstakes

Snap, smile and click! Atmel has kicked off its long-awaited Tech on Tour (ToT) selfie sweepstakes

So if you are attending one of our ToT events, or happen to see us stopping to refuel, be sure to come on over and take a selfie with the Atmel crew and our tech-packed mobile trailer. Don’t be camera shy, because you could win a brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!

You can click here for additional details.

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, our tricked-out ToT mobile trailer allows visitors to interact with a wide range of next-gen Atmel tech, including AVR and ARM based microcontrollersautomotive and crypto solutions,microprocessorsInternet Of Things (IoT) productswearable devices3D printerstouch sensors and XSense. 

If you don’t see a stop near you and think your city would enjoy Atmel’s traveling show, be sure to request one and we’ll see what we can do.

This weekend, Atmel’s ToT will be at SXSW in Austin, Texas. We’re based at the Hyatt Regency Austin from March 7-9, 2014, so be sure to stop by during the show to see our latest demos.

More specifically, you can check out:

In addition, we’re proud to host a guest appearance by Autodesk, the very same folks behind the world famous Instructables and 123D Circuits.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s tech on tour? You can check out our official ToT page here.

Atmel’s Tech on Tour mobile trailer hits the road

Atmel’s Tech on Tour (ToT) crew has tirelessly crisscrossed the globe for many years, offering hands-on technical training for a wide range of company products. This month, Atmel kicked off a new ToT era with a tricked-out mobile trailer that will be hitting the road this month.

The versatile mobile training center allows visitors to interact with a plethora of next-gen Atmel tech, including AVR and ARM based microcontrollers, automotive and crypto solutions, microprocessors, Internet Of Things (IoT) products, wearable devices, 3D printers, touch sensors and XSense.

In addition to hands-on training, Atmel will leverage the fact that it is at the heart of the Maker Movement and well positioned at the center of IoT innovation. From my perspective, the IoT will be led by a rising generation of tinkerers, inventors and innovators. These are dedicated people who are working out of universities, garages and small companies. We will go and meet them.


Our mobile Tech on Tour trailer provides a familiar setting for customers, engineers and Makers, as well as designers, students, professor and executives. We want to meet people in the market working on projects like electronics, robotics, transportation, alternative energy and sustainable agriculture. That is why we are offering hands-on training and access to soldering irons, along with a chance to brainstorm about the future together.


To be sure, the ToT trailer is quite a scalable platform, functioning not only as a mobile training center, a showroom and conference center, but also as a trade show booth, entertainment center, content creation platform, executive meeting center, recruitment platform, tech support center and employee engagement engine.


On top of that, we are partnering with all global distribution partners, customers, third parties, Makers, government officials and universities to bring Atmel to the market. We are very excited about the concept and the pull from the market and distribution partners has been very promising.

Note: You can request a ToT stop at your location here.

Smart, Connected Design at 2013 CES

Going to the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next month? In our meeting room at the show, Atmel will showcase embedded technologies that inspire smart, connected designs. Among our many demos:

To schedule a meeting with Atmel executives and Tech Experts at CES, contact your local sales representative or send an email to events@atmel.com. We will also be in the ZigBee Pavilion with demos of our ZigBee Light Link and Wireless Composer/Sniffer solutions.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!