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Sensor chips offer huge cost savings

Posted: 01 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:quantum research group? qtouch? qt220? qt240? digital sensor chip?

Capable of detecting near-proximityThe new QTouch QT220 and QT240 charge-transfer digital sensor chips from Quantum Research Group facilitate the manufacture of man-machine interfaces at a cost comparable to using electromechanical switches.

According to the company, these sensors are capable of detecting near-proximity or touch on 2 or 4 electrodes, respectively, and allow these electrodes to project independent sense fields through any dielectric including glass, plastic, stone, ceramic or wood. The devices can also turn metal-bearing objects into intrinsic sensors, making them responsive to proximity or touch. This capability, together with a continuous self-calibration feature, can lead to entirely new product concepts, adding user-appeal to the aesthetics and functionality of human interfaces, added Quantum Research Group.

Typical applications include control panels, appliances, gaming devices, lighting controls or anywhere a mechanical switch or button might otherwise be used. The devices can also be used for some material sensing and control applications.

Each of the key channels operates independently of the others, and each can be tuned for a unique sensitivity level by simply changing its sample capacitor value. Two speeds are supported, one of which consumes 90?A of typical current at 4V. Both devices operate from a single 3.9V to 5.5Vdc supply and use a 20-SSOP lead-free package.

Both the QT220 and QT240 feature a SYNC pin for synchronization with additional similar parts and/or to an external source to suppress interference. This pin doubles as a drive pin for spread-spectrum modulation. Option pins are provided which allow different timing and feature settings.

The RISC cores of these devices use signal processing techniques to meet operating environment challenges, such as 'stuck sensor' conditions, component ageing, moisture films and signal drift.

Both sensors are already available. Pricing in 100,000-unit orders is under 50 cents for the 2-key QT220 and under 60 cents for the 4-key QT240.

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