Microchip Technology has introduced an extension of its maXTouch portfolio with a new touch screen controller family which it claims provide the industry’s smallest automotive grade packaged devices that can be implemented in surfaces and multi-function displays up to 6.5”.
The new MXT288UD-AM and the MXT144UD-AM devices address the need of automotive OEMs looking to enhance the user experience through smart surfaces and multi-function displays, enabling them to implement additional touch displays beyond the center infotainment display. Secondary touch surfaces can be placed in both the interior of cars and exterior of a motor vehicle, such as handlebars, doors, electronic mirrors, control knobs, the steering wheel, between seats or in an armrest. The new touch controllers offer low power mode, weatherproof operation and glove touch detection in multi-function displays, touch pad and smart surfaces for vehicles, motorcycles, e-bikes and car-sharing services.
With the MXT288UD family’s small 7×7 mm automotive grade VQFN56 package, tier one suppliers can reduce board space by 75 percent and reduce the overall bill of materials (BoM) for these compact applications, all while exceeding the requirements for reliable touch performance. The family’s low power wait-for-touch mode consumes less than 50 µA, remaining responsive for the user, even if the display switches off to save power or to avoid disturbing the driver at night. The system will wake by a touch event anywhere on the touch surface.
In addition, the MXT288UD-AM and the MXT144UD-AM devices enable detection and tracking of multi-finger thick gloves through a wide variety of overlay materials and thicknesses, like leather, wood or across uneven surfaces — even in the presence of moisture. Normally the dielectric constant of these overlay materials would limit the detection of the touch, however these devices provide a unique solution to reliably detect and track multi fingers with a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and through a proprietary differential mutual acquisition scheme.
For example, in car sharing applications, this reliable touch functionality helps users access a car from the outside by tracking touch coordinates on an exterior display in any environment, like rain, snow or extreme heat. Motorcycles and other motorbike vehicles also benefit from such weatherproof designs. As a turnkey solution, the MXT288UD family provides proven firmware, developed according to automotive SPICE processes and is AEC-Q100 qualified — making it easy for automotive manufacturers to integrate into existing systems at a lower risk with faster time to market.
Both software and hardware support are available. Software tools includes maXTouch Studio and a maXTouch analyzer. For the MXT288UD, the hardware offered includes an evaluation kit with a printed circuit board (PCB) and a 5” capacitive touch panel, while the MXT144UD’s evaluation kit includes a PCB and a 2.9” capacitive touch pad. For both devices, a bridge PCB is included with a USB connection for interfacing to a computer when running maXTouch Studio. Microchip’s touch function group can also help with the development and tuning of touch sensors and integration into the final application. The MXT288UD touch controller family is available today in mass production.