Innovative Technology Supports Both Mutual- and Self-Capacitance Methods and Achieves High-Touch Sensitivity and High-Noise Immunity
Dusseldorf, July 17, 2014 — Renesas Electronics Europe, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced development of innovative new intellectual property (IP) that implements industry-leading capacitive touch sensing technology suitable for home appliances, and healthcare equipment, such as blood pressure and blood glucose meters. The IP achieves high-touch sensitivity five times superior compared to that of Renesas’ R8C/3xT microcontrollers (MCUs), as well as high- noise immunity allowing the technology to pass strict noise tests. Furthermore, for the first time, Renesas IP supports the mutual capacitance method which is more reliable and versatile than the common self-capacitance method. Renesas will also provide development tools to make application development easier.
For human machine interface (HMI) applications for electric and electronic equipment, touch-key interfaces have been the subject of increasing attention. The use of capacitive touch technology is being rapidly adopted because it can easily improve reliability in product design, and enhance the end-user experience. In fact, system manufacturers are now developing new touch interfaces with a curved surface, instead of the flat panels that have been mainstream up to now. Looking ahead, touch-sensing technologies with even higher sensitivity and noise immunity will become highly desirable for a wider range of applications.
For home appliances used in the kitchen, it is often the case that the appliance will be splashed with water or the user will be wearing gloves. Furthermore, there is also equipment, such as IH stoves, that emit strong electromagnetic fields. This means that a technology that achieves both high sensitivity and high noise immunity at the same time is required to reliably respond to the static capacitance when such end products are operated by the user's hand.
As a leader in the global MCU industry, Renesas launched its R8C/3xT Series of MCUs supporting capacitive touch interfaces in October 2009, thus contributing to the proliferation of touch-key manipulation systems. Renesas expects strong growth in the market for touch-key systems and intends to be a key player with technology and products supporting HMI applications.
Key features of the new IP:
(1) Industry-leading (Note 1) high sensitivity and high noise immunity
The Renesas IP not only offers high-noise immunity, but also provides characteristics that allow reliable sensing even with acrylic panels with thicknesses in excess of 10 mm. The technology can implement flexible designs, for example products that implement curved panels. Furthermore, since this new IP enables a high-level of touch sensitivity it can expand the range of scenarios for consumer interaction, such as gloved hands and proximity sensing where there is no actual touch. In addition, since the IP passes the strict electromagnetic noise testing stipulated in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61000-4-3 and IEC 61000-4-6 (Note 2) standards, it enables the design of robust systems even under noisy conditions.
(2) Support for the mutual capacitance method
Because the new IP supports the mutual capacitance method, it is easier to implement moisture proofing measures in end products, so that false detections do not occur even if there is water on the touch key area. The IP also supports embedding touch keys in a matrix configuration to eliminate false ghost detections, a phenomenon associated with devices implementing the self-capacitance method. This allows the number of touch keys to be increased with minimal number of pins.
(3) Development environment that significantly reduces the development burden
Renesas plans to provide a new development environment that maintains compatibility with the existing Renesas tool chain while improving ease of use for its customers.
The newly-developed touch panel IP is being positioned by the company not only as a technology for use in home appliances and healthcare equipment, but also one that can be applied in any field where longevity and reliability are required, such as factory automation (FA) and home security. Renesas is committed to providing customers with optimal solutions in a timely manner and is proceeding with the development of MCUs that incorporate the company’s newest IP.
Samples of Renesas Electronics' MCUs incorporating the new static capacitive touch panel IP will be available during the fiscal year 2014. (Availability is subject to change without notice.)
As of July 15, 2014
The IEC 61000-4-3 and IEC 61000-4-6 standards:
IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards for EMS.
4-3: Radiated, radio-frequency, electromagnetic field immunity test
4-6: Immunity to conducted disturbances, induced by radio-frequency fields
About Renesas Electronics Europe
Renesas Electronics is the world's number one supplier of microcontrollers and a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, including system-on-chip and a wide range of discrete analogue and power devices. Established in 2010, Renesas Electronics combines the collective semiconductor expertise of Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric and NEC Electronics, encapsulating more than 200 years' experience.
Renesas' products are the result of decades of research and investment into semiconductor technology and customer solutions. Today, they provide pioneering platforms for the advancement of the Smart Society, embedding intelligence, connectivity, safety and security in solutions for cars, homes, buildings and factories. In Europe, Renesas complements its cutting-edge technology with resources that foster customer proximity and span the entire product lifecycle. These include the European Technology Centre, which designs innovative solutions specifically for Europe, and the European Quality Centre in Dusseldorf, which provides technical support to customers throughout the region. Renesas also operates an effective ecosystem, comprising the industry's largest local support network and an extensive network of over 800 hardware and software alliance partners.
Headquartered in Japan, Renesas Electronics has subsidiaries in 20 countries worldwide. More information is available at www.renesas.com.