Atmel's new family of single-key touch controllers are aimed at portable devices, with a power consumption below 17 μA. Places where such a device would show up include power buttons, hearing devices, consumer toys, and proximity sensors. The embedded low-power features enable longer battery life for these portable devices.
Based on the company's patented QTouch capacitive touch technology for buttons, wheels, and sliders, the family of single-key capacitive touch controllers offers an improved response time. This feature allows mobile touch devices to wake-up faster. When a key touch is detected, these devices will temporarily switch to a 12.6 ms fast response mode, allowing additional touches to be detected quickly.
The AT42QT101X family uses spread spectrum modulation to ensure excellent electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). The ICs automatically calibrate when powered up. They stay calibrated, even with moisture build-up or other contaminants on the touch surface.
The AT42QT1010 includes a timer to reset a stuck key condition after 60 seconds, while the AT42QT1011 indicates a touch condition while the sensor is in detect mode but does not have a timeout. The AT42QT1012 includes a touch-on/touch-off or toggle key and also includes a configurable power down timer, preventing devices from inadvertently being left on.
The key sensitivity on all devices can be configured for different panel thickness and materials. Electrodes can be made from any conductive material including transparent ITO (Indium Tin Oxide). The devices can also be configured for use as a proximity sensor, allowing a nearby hand or object to be detected.
Prices start at $0.20 for high volumes. Evaluation kits are also available.