TouchNetix of the UK has released what it claims is the first touch controller chip series that is specifically designed for automotive and industrial applications. The aXiom series of chips is claimed to improve performance in noise immunity, low RFI and a ‘reduced risk of premature touchscreen failure’. Like other industrial controller chips, the PCap touch can be operated with wet or gloved fingers.
The firm said that the AX310 enables OEMs for the first time to:
- Design responsive touchscreens that have a thick, varying-thickness or contoured overlay while maintaining uniform sensitivity across the whole screen’s surface
- Implement hover, proximity, touch and concurrent force-sensing functions with a single capacitive touchscreen controller which also integrates haptics control. With this combination, OEMs can realise 3D touch effects.
- Support touchscreen designs in arbitrary and non-standard display formats, including ultra-wide aspect ratios and non-rectangular form factors
- Achieve reliable touch-sensing performance in the presence of multiple high-power noise sources
- Easily meet CISPR25 Level 3 specifications for radiated emissions without implementing expensive noise counter-measures
- Dramatically reduce the risk of early touchscreen failure due to materials degradation in hot and humid environments
The aXiom controllers have been designed from the ground up for operation in harsh and noisy industrial and automotive environments and over a wide temperature range. Its all-new, highly digital architecture gives it performance advantages that are impossible for modified consumer-grade touchscreen controllers to match.
The aXiom products owe their performance to a combination of a novel analogue front end which uses a narrowband, low-voltage sinusoidal drive waveform, an innovative seamless frequency-changing capability to avoid noisy frequency ranges, and a high-performance proprietary digital signal processor (DSP) engine. The most striking feature of this new architecture, the firm said, is its high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 80dB, compared to the typical 50-55dB of competing products in the market.
This high SNR is enabled with TouchNetix’ aXiom controller while driving the sensor at a low DC-neutral 2.5Vpk-pk, whereas other controllers often use a drive voltage of +30V or higher to achieve even a modest SNR. The aXiom IC’s low drive voltage produces very low levels of radiated emissions. The DC neutral bias also dramatically reduces the stresses experienced by the touchscreen materials.