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MCU kit eases touch/motion sensing designs

Posted: 28 Aug 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MCU? USB? touch sensing design? accelerometer?

Microchip Technology Inc. has released the MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC18 Microcontrollers containing all of the components, documentation, schematics, debugging and programming capabilities for USB and touch-sensing applications.

The kit includes a development board featuring a 44-pin PIC18F46J50 MCU with nanoWatt XLP technology for extreme low power, mTouch capacitive touch sensing, Bosch Sensortec BMA150 accelerometer, 64Kbyte flash program memory, and much more.

The starter kit includes the Bosch Sensortec BMA150 digital triaxial accelerometer, which enables the PIC18 Starter Kit board to detect acceleration in three perpendicular axes for sensing the board's tilt and motion.

The board ships with demo code that enables it to function as a USB mouse or joystick using the accelerometer. Acceleration on all three axes is used to compute the board tilt, which is then converted to movement of the mouse cursor on the X and Y axes. The accelerometer allows the cursor to move slowly when the board is tilted a small amount, and quickly when there is a steeper tilt.

Hardware debugging and programming come integrated with the MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC18 Microcontrollers, meaning an additional debugger or programmer is not required.

The kit is completely USB-powered, so a separate power supply does not need to be purchased. Pre-programmed touch-sensing code, as well as Microchip's free USB application stack and bootloader, eliminate the need for engineers to develop their own code.

Additionally, the board includes demo application software that enables it to read from the memory card (MSD), or function as a USB mouse or joystick (HID), or simple COM port (CDC) using the free Microchip stacks.

By simply scrolling through code options using capacitive-touch buttons, engineers can demonstrate the PIC18 MCUs with a MicroSD memory card, potentiometer, acceleration sensor, and OLED displayfunctions that are essential for a wide range of low-power applications.

The MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC18 Microcontrollers (part # DM180021) is priced at $59.98.

- Bernard Cole

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