Tag Archives: touchscreens

Your touchscreen can now seamlessly transition between hover, finger and glove touch


The new maXTouch mXT641T family is the industry’s first auto-qualified self- and mutual-capacitance controller meeting the AEC-Q100 standards for high reliability in harsh environments.


Optimized for capacitive touchpads and touchscreens from five to 10 inches, Atmel has expanded its robust portfolio of automotive-qualified maXTouch controllers with the all-new mXT641T family. These devices are the industry’s first auto-qualified self- and mutual-capacitance controllers meeting the AEC-Q100 standards for high reliability in harsh environments.

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The maXTouch mXT641T family incorporates Atmel’s Adaptive Sensing technology to enable dynamic touch classification, a feature that automatically and intelligently switches between self- and mutual-capacitance sensing to provide users a seamless transition between a finger touch, hover or glove touch. As a result, this eliminates the need for users to manually enable ‘glove mode’ in the operating system to differentiate between hover and glove modes. Adaptive Sensing is also resistant to water and moisture and ensures superior touch performance even in these harsh conditions.

The latest family of devices support stringent automotive requirements including hover and glove support in moist and cold environments, thick lens for better impact resistance, and single-layer shieldless sensor designs in automotive center consoles, navigation systems, radio interfaces and rear-seat entertainment systems. The single-layer shieldless sensor design eliminates additional screen layers, delivering better light transparency resulting in lower power consumption along with an overall lower system cost for the manufacturer.

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“More consumers are demanding high-performance touchscreens in their vehicles with capacitive touch technology,” said Rob Valiton, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Automotive, Memory and Secure Products Business Units. “Atmel is continuing to drive more innovative, next-generation touch technologies to the automotive market and our new family of automotive-qualified maXTouch T controllers is further testament to our leadership in this space. Atmel is the only automotive-qualified touch supplier with over two decades of experience in designing, developing, and manufacturing semiconductor solutions that meet the stringent quality and reliability standards for our automotive customers.”

Interested? Production quantities of the mXT641T are now available. Meanwhile, you can learn all about the entire maXTouch lineup here.

ASUS Z300 tablet is the world’s first on-cell touchscreen with active stylus pen support


The ASUS Z300 on-cell tablet provides a perfect ‘pen-to-paper’ writing experience thanks to Atmel maXTouch and maXStylus controllers.


ASUS has revealed quite a few announcements over the last couple of days at Computex 2015 including an all-in-one PC, a full-featured smartphone for selfies, a second generation ZenWatch, as well as a range of tablets in various sizes. Among those devices was the 10.1″ Z300, which features the world’s first on-cell touchscreen with capacitive active stylus pen support that enables a precise ‘pen-to-paper’ writing experience for more content generation on today’s digital world.

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To accomplish this, the company has selected Atmel’s maXTouch controllers to power the touchscreen and active stylus pen of its newly-launched tablet. The ASUS Z300 tablet’s touch display is driven by a maXTouch T-series touchscreen controller, which features a revolutionary sensing architecture that combines both mutual and self-capacitance to enhance performance.

“As a leading provider of innovative mobile devices for the worldwide market, ASUS continues to bring superior products to market,” explained Shar Narasimhan, Atmel Senior Product Manager of Touch Marketing. “The selection of Atmel’s maXTouch controllers for the industry’s first 10.1″ on-cell tablet with capacitive active stylus by ASUS is further testament that we are enabling OEMs to deliver leading-edge digital lifestyle products.”

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What’s more, the device uses one of the industry’s most advanced capacitive styli, Atmel’s maXStylus mXTS220 — the only active pen with noise immunity capable of operating in the high display noise environment emitted by ultra-thin on-cell stack-ups. Together, the maXStylus and maXTouch integrate seamlessly to create a flawless user experience in even the most demanding conditions.

“As a leading manufacturer of mobile devices, our products are only built with world-class components,” added Samson Hu, Atmel’s Corporate Vice President & GM of Mobile Product Business Unit. “Atmel’s industry-leading stylus capabilities enabled us to deliver a much thinner on-cell display stack for more elegant designs with a best-in-class active pen experience. We look forward to launching more advanced devices with intuitive human interfaces powered by Atmel.”

maXTouch U family opens up a world of possibilities for next-gen devices


This new controller family will make touchscreen devices less frustrating and more enjoyable to use.


It’s safe to say that touchscreens have surely come a long way since Dr. Samuel C.Hurst at the University of Kentucky debuted the first electronic touch interface back in 1971. Despite their ubiquity today in just about every device, the technology doesn’t seem to always work as well as it should given recent advancements. As VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi points out, displays remain frustratingly unresponsive to finger taps, consume a lot of power, and quite frankly, are still pretty bulky — until now.

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That’s because Atmel has launched a next generation of sensor chips that will pave the way to much better (and more delightful) tactile experiences for gadgets ranging from 1.2” smartwatch screens to 10.1” tablet displays. Following in the footsteps of its older siblings, the new maXTouch U family will enable optimal performance, power consumption leveraging picoPower technology, and of course, thinner screens.

More apparent than ever before, the use of touch-enabled machinery has exploded over the past five years. As a result, there has been an ever-growing need to develop touchscreens with extremely high touch performance, ultra-low power and more sophisticated industrial designs with thinner screens. Not to mention, the anticipated surge in wearables has also created a demand for extremely small touchscreen controllers with ultra-low power consumption in tiny packaging. Luckily, this is now all possible thanks to the maXTouch U family which crams pure awesomeness in a 2.5-millimeter by 2.6-millimeter space (WLCSP).

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Designers can now build extremely innovative thin and flexible touchscreen designs using single layer, on-cell and hybrid in-cell touchscreens with intelligent wake-up gestures and buttons. What this means is that, the technology can support entry-level smartphones, slick wearable gizmos, super tablets and everything in between on a full range of stack-ups.

Among the most notable features of the U include low power modes down to 10µW in deep sleep for wearables such as smartwatches, active stylus support, 1.0-millimeter passive stylus support (so users can write with things like pencils on a touchscreen), as well as up to a 20-millimeter hover distance (so that a user can answer their phone call with a wet hand). What’s more, the touch controllers can sense water and reject it as a touch action, and works with multiple fingers — even if someone is wearing gloves.

Binay Bajaj, Atmel Senior Director of Touch Marketing, explains that the recently-revelaed series provides all the necessary building blocks for futuristic mobile gadgetry. The chips are available in samples today, while production versions will be ready in the third and fourth quarters.

“Our expertise in ultra-low power MCUs and innovative touch engineering have allowed us to bring a superior series of devices to market that is truly an innovative collection to drive next-generation touchscreens. We are a leading provider of touchscreen devices to a variety of markets adopting capacitive touchscreens,” Bajaj adds.

Let’s take a closer look at the six new maXTouch U devices:

  • mXT735U is the perfect device for the entry level tablet delivering robust moisture support and excellent noise immunity for touchscreens up to 10.1″.
  • mXT640U supports touchscreens up to 6 inches. This device supports 1mm passive stylus support and thin stack support including 0.4mm cover lens for GFF stack, up to 25mm hover detection and moisture resistance.
  • mXT416U delivers extremely high touch performance including 2.5mm passive stylus, excellent moisture support, noise immunity and up to 30mm large finger touch detection.
  • mXT336U is targeted for mid-range smartphone applications, delivering a perfect balance between performance and form factor.
  • mXT308U is geared towards low-end smartphone applications emphasizing simplicity and robustness.
  • mXT144U is designed specifically for wearable applications. The mXT144U features picoPower with 10uW in deep sleep mode and is the smallest hybrid sensing touchscreen controller packaged in a 2.5mm x 2.6mm WLCSP. This device is the ideal solution for today and tomorrow’s wearable devices.

Report: Automotive touch panel revenues to hit $1.5 billion by 2018


Most touch panels for 2017 car models will use capacitive touch technology, IHS report reveals. 


The explosion of touch-enabled screens used in smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices, along with improvements in touch technology, are increasing the demand for touchscreen automotive displays used for navigation, entertainment and online services, climate control, energy efficiency tracking and other activities.

According to a recent study by research firm IHS, the CAGR for global automotive touch panel shipments will average 18% through 2018, with revenues forecasted to reach $1.5 billion. This includes shipments of factory-installed automotive touch panel systems, aftermarket applications, dealer installations, as well as service replacements.

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IHS notes that though projective-capacitive touch (PCT) technology has been a topic of discussion since 2012, adoption is finally expected to begin in 2015 models, which is leading to the charge for touch-panel shipments. That’s because the role of automotive displays is changing. What was once just a simple way to view information from a navigation system or a car audio system, has evolved into a human-to-machine interface (HMI) for devices of in and out of the vehicle.

Due to improvements in the consumer interface, IHS reveals that most touch panels for 2017 car models will use capacitive touch technology, which is expected to surpass the use of resistive technology over the next two years.

Moving ahead, state-of-the-art cars will surely be equipped with multi-touch capacitive sensors typically found in smartphones and tablets, along with capacitive buttons to create a modern look and intuitive use — all of which will be made possible through Atmel’s comprehensive platforms and solutions for in-vehicle HMIs.

DIY printing custom touch-sensitive displays


The PrintScreen lets anyone print their own custom displays.


In recent years, the industry has advanced by leaps and bounds when it comes to flexible touchscreens, albeit reproducing this technology for DIY projects has been a daunting task. Have you ever wanted to devise an interactive prototype with a display, like a smart plant that can reveal incoming calls or messages? Or, how about a touch-enabled greeting card for a loved one that could depict self-created symbols? Or, perhaps a postcard that illuminates in color when triggered? Despite countless innovative ideas, affordable displays for initial mockups can be quite bulky and only come in a few sizes.

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That may soon all change thanks to a group of researchers from Germany’s Saarland University who have developed a technique that could allow anyone to literally print their own custom displays, including touchscreens. The aptly-named PrintScreen has been designed to facilitate the next-generation of digital fabrication for customized flexible displays using thin-film electroluminescence (TFEL). Through the approach, an ordinary inkjet printer will pave the way for inexpensive yet rapid production of highly-customizable screens in low volume, ranging from a simple lab environment, a print shop or even at home. (It’s almost like temporary tattooing meets in-home graphic t-shirt making meets 3D printing.) The possibilities for endless as these TFEL displays can be integrated into almost every object in daily life, whether that’s affixed to paper objects, furniture, decorative accessories, bags or garments.

“We show how to print ultra-thin (120um) segmented and passive matrix displays in greyscale or multi-color on a variety of deformable and rigid substrate materials, including PET film, office paper, leather, metal, stone, and wood. The displays can have custom, unconventional 2D shapes and can be bent, rolled and folded to create 3D shapes. We contribute a systematic overview of graphical display primitives for customized displays and show how to integrate them with static print and printed electronics. Furthermore, we contribute a sensing framework, which leverages the display itself for touch sensing. To demonstrate the wide applicability of PrintScreen, we present application examples from ubiquitous, mobile and wearable computing,” the team of Simon Olberding, Michael Wessely and Jürgen Steimle writes.

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How it works is relatively simple. Using a regular inkjet printer equipped with some conductive ink, Makers and designers alike can produce DIY displays from a digital template of a desired size and shape with programs such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint and an editor like Adobe Illustrator. Making use of one of the two methods the researchers have been presenting, the template can now be printed out in about two to four hours, depending on the exact procedure, size and colors. Nevertheless, these results will be high-res displays that are just 1/10mm thick. To cover an entire standard printer page currently costs €20 ($21.69), with the most expensive part being the special ink that is required.

In order to light up a display segment, the team has crafted a controller that is tasked with applying a high-voltage, low-current AC signal between the upper and lower electrode layers. The luminance of a display segment or pixel is then controlled using pulse-width modulation (PWM), a standard method for controlling the luminance of LEDs. For mobile applications, their prototypical controller utilized a small driver IC that generates the high-voltage AC signal from a 1.0-7.0V DC power source. If a higher luminance is required, a stronger driver IC with a slightly bigger footprint can be implemented. Meanwhile, an ATmega2560 MCU triggers the optocouplers for multiplexing the high-voltage signal between display pins.

“The TFEL-specific ghosting effect in passive matrix displays can be significantly reduced by using a slightly modified controller design, thus further increasing the contrast of the matrix,” the team reveals.

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“So far, nothing like this has been possible,” Olberding adds. “Displays were produced for the masses, never for one individual user.”

Printing a regular high-res display could be just the beginning, as the researchers hope PrintScreen can be used with other materials like leather, metal, stone, and wood in the future. Interested in learning more? The researchers will be exhibiting their solution at Cebit in Hanover, Germany this month. Meanwhile, you can read their entire paper here.

Introducing the maXTouch U family

Just in time for CES 2015, Atmel has launched its next-generation maXTouch U family, bringing the world’s first capacitive touchscreen solution to allow no compromise for designing new state-of-the-art displays and true 3D user experiences. OEMs will no longer have to worry about touch and display performance when selecting thinner stacks such as on-cell, hybrid in-cell, full in-cell touchscreens utilizing very thin film and glass substrates.

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The proliferation of smart devices along with the innovation in display technologies have put many new challenging requirements on touchscreen technology. These touchscreens not only have to operate with thin noisier displays, cheaper noisier chargers and numerous environmental noise sources, but also have to work with thick gloves in cold climates, moisture in humid environments and stylus for content creation.

The maXTouch U architecture is designed from the ground-up to service these requirements, enabling the highest hover distance of 25mm while cutting the touch power by 50%. This family provides full in-cell integration without requiring costly display synchronization for the OEM, enabling the fastest touch response for users compared to any competing solution today. maXTouch U series allows multi-finger operation with moisture on the screen and supports side-buttons for an easy-to-use user experience especially in camera mode. The high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) supports very thin 1mm passive and active stylus handwriting with full palm rejection for a flawless content creation experience.

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“Competing touch solutions do not have the fundamental building blocks required to support the technical demands of thinner and flexible advanced displays,” said Binay Bajaj, Atmel Senior Director of Touch Marketing. “Meeting these technological demands, the new maXTouch U family is truly a testament to the team’s innovative engineering techniques. Leading OEMs are extremely excited to use this new architecture to achieve unprecedented touch performance for next-generation products.”

The mXT874U, which will be the first sampling product in this new family, puts the latest maXTouch technology into action by adding high-voltage differential signal and a powerful maXDSP in the analog front-end. The result is unparalleled signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) that enables advanced touchscreen experiences beyond just finger touching. The mXT874U supports 25-30mm finger hover tracking, up to 5.0mm gloved touch, 1.0mm passive stylus writing, touch sensing with moisture and robust common charger noise rejection. This comprehensive array of touch features will allow you to deliver flagship next-generation mobile devices with the ultimate user interface experiences consumers crave.

Those wishing to learn more about the new maXTouch U family can do so by heading over to its official page here.

Atmel stays ahead of the curve with its next-generation car center console

Connected cars are expected to be among several of the key trends at this year’s International CES. With up to a hundred million lines of code, at least 30 MCU-controlled devices — and some with as many as 100 — the vehicle is the ideal application to bring smart, connected devices in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT). Not only will these vehicles be packed with next-gen functionality ranging from navigation and parking assistance to diagnosis and road conditions, they will become much more intuitive and integrated with smartphone-like interfaces. In order to provide this, the automobile of tomorrow will feature a curved center console display offering a large amount of real estate for information to drivers. And, the newly-announced AvantCar™ 2.0 will make this possible.

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The successor to the concept introduced a year ago, the AvantCar 2.0 is equipped with an array of Atmel technologies including a 2.5D model of a car connected to a fully-functional central display demonstrating car access, car networking, MCUs, audio streaming over-Ethernet-AVB and CryptoAuthentication™ products. The futuristic AvantCar 2.0 sports active touchscreens, curved form factors, personalized color schemes and navigation menus via touch buttons and sliders in a cutting-edge sleek center console.

Focusing on user requirements for future generation automobiles, AvantCar 2.0 delivers an advanced human machine interface (HMI). The new concept boasts curved touchscreens highlighting HMI in upcoming automobiles using Atmel technologies like maXTouch touchscreen controllers and XSense flexible touch sensors, as well as Atmel’s QTouch™ with proximity sensing, LIN networking for ambient lighting controls, and automotive-qualified AVR MCUs.

“As a leading provider of smart, connected devices with sophisticated, easy-to-use HMI, Atmel is committed to delivering a state-of-the-art connected experience in the automobile,” Rob Valiton, Atmel SVP and GM of Automotive, Aerospace and Memory Business Units. “Atmel’s AvantCar 2.0 showcases the connected car and delivers a futuristic center console showcasing our latest technologies in a sleek, slim center console with increased performance and fully connected throughout the car. We are excited to bring this next-generation concept to the public demonstrating the future of HMI in the connected car.”

Upon quick glance, one thing you will notice is that the AvantCar 2.0 is a bit different than your typical console — no more mechanical buttons or clunky knobs. 

Instead, the touchscreens integrated capacitive touch buttons and sliders enable users to navigate general applications typically found within an automotive center displays. The second generation demo is slimmer than its predecessor, offering a more appealing aesthetic with improved performance including Silicon Image’s MHL® (Mobile High-Definition Link) solution — a technology that allows users to easily transmit content from a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device to larger displays such as in-dash automotive displays, while charging the mobile device.

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“The last one wasn’t as tailored to automotive standards for display quality,” Paul Kopp, Atmel Director of Automotive, told Venture Beat in a recent interview. “It also has curved liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that weren’t available before. It will look more like a curved surface. The designers really want that in automotive now. The lines will blend more with the vehicle itself.”

While carmakers have been using haptic feedback, it’s apparent that the trend has shifted towards much larger screens and easier touch technology. Tomorrow’s displays will likely be pretty big. While the average is currently about 8 inches diagonal now, it could, in fact, head closer to 10 inches or 12 inches in future models.

“When Tesla came out with a 17-inch main screen, that woke up a lot of the American manufacturers to the idea of bigger displays in the car,” Kopp told Venture Beat. “The right size for the user? The jury is still out.”

Those heading to Vegas for the world’s largest electronics show can experience the newly-unveiled AvantCar 2.0 concept by speeding on over to the Atmel booth (#MP25760) in the LVCC South Hall.

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