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Capacitive touch sensing tool eases interface

Posted: 08 Apr 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:capacitive touch sensing? sensor? MCU? button replacement?

The PSoC Express visual embedded system design tool and CapSense Express configuration tool allow designers to tune the performance of the buttons and sliders in real time. (Click to view larger image)

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has developed the CapSense Express capacitive touch sensing solution for fast and easy button and slider replacement.

The Programmable SoC (PSoC) Express visual embedded system design tool and CapSense Express configuration tool allow designers to monitor and tune the performance of up to 10 buttons and sliders in real time using a GUI in as little as 5mins without the need for coding. The capacitive touch sensing technology based on the Cypress PSoC mixed-array technology can also be used for touch pad, touch screen and proximity sensor applications.

You don 't have to be MCU or sensor expert to configure this solution in a matter of minutes, said Geoff Charubin, VP of global marketing and applications for Cypress. "It 's a pre-programmed solution meant to get people to market quickly with their devices. There is no code that needs to be written. It 's as simple as drag-and-drop," he added.

The new configuration tool enables device tuning via a GUI and real-time configuration. A designer simply has to open the development environment; select the number of buttons or sliders; select the configuration; program the CapSense part; attach the programmer to the board with the device; tune it and go, Charubin said.

Power, cost savings
The new configurable CapSense Express devicesthe CY8C201X0 and CY8C201X2offer up to ten capacitive and/or GPIOs to implement a flexible combination of buttons, sliders, and general-purpose functions such as LED control and interrupt outputs. For battery-powered applications, the devices offer low power consumption of 1mA active current and 2.6?A in sleep mode.

The new devices offer a wide operating voltage of 2.4V to 5.25V and an industrial temperature range of -40C to 85C. In addition, 2Kbit of flash memory and an I?C communication interface are provided so designers can choose whether to store tuning values in flash or load them over I?C at power-up.

OEMs can also benefit from a cost savings. In many cases especially with higher end equipment replacement with capacitive sensing buttons can be a costs savings from a PCB perspective, along with fewer components, and in the long-run with higher reliability it reduces field failures and prolongs the life time of the equipment, Charubin said.

Cypress is offering three evaluation kits for using the CapSense Express solution. The CY3218-CAPEXP1 kit features three CapSense buttons, three backlighting LEDs, three LEDs for status and one mechanical button. The CY3218-CAPEXP2 kit offers a 5-segment slider with four status LEDs and one mechanical button. The CY3218-CAPEXP3 features two CapSense buttons with two status LEDs using the smallest package, the 8-pin SOIC.

Housed in 8- and 16-pin SOIC and 16-pin QFN packages, the CY8C201X0 and CY8C201X2 CapSense Express devices are available today. The three evaluation kitsCY3218-CAPEXP1, CY3218-CAPEXP2 and CY3218-CAPEXP3are priced at $45 each.

- Gina Roos

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