Chip-scale haptic IC drives HD touch in smallest electronics

28th January 2020
Alex Lynn

Boréas Technologies has introduced the BOS1901CW, a Wafer Level Chip Scale (WLCSP) version of its low-power piezoelectric driver integrated circuit (IC) for high-definition (HD) haptic feedback in mobile and wearable consumer products, including buttonless smartphones, smartwatches, game controllers and other battery-powered devices.

Featuring WLCSP packaging, the BOS1901CW is just 2.1x2.2x0.6mm and consumes just one-tenth the power of its nearest piezoelectric (piezo) competitor, making it small and low-power enough for the most resource-constrained devices.

Tactai, a specialist in recreating lifelike touch sensations through its embedded haptics platforms, used the BOS1901CW to develop a digital active-stylus reference design.

“From digital pens that simulate the feel of writing on paper to touch-enabled buttons and keyboards, users want natural tactile feedback when they’re interacting with their personal electronic products,” said Jonathan Fiene, Chief Technology Officer, Tactai. “With its small size, straightforward digital interface, and amazing power profile, Boréas’ BOS1901CW allows Tactai to deploy our unique real-time dynamic rendering system into a wide range of new and exciting next-generation piezoelectric-driven mobile and handheld haptic devices.”

With the new BOS1901CW and its previously announced BOS1901CQ, which is available in a 4x4x0.8mm Quad-Flat No Lead (QFN) package, Boréas is targeting a global haptics component market that will be worth $4.8bn by 2030, according to James Hayward, Principal Analyst at IDTechEx.

“Boréas Technologies is competing in some promising emerging technology areas within haptics,” said Hayward. “Enabling haptic feedback through ‘buttons’ and other touch interfaces in space- and power-constrained devices, Boréas can potentially provide a key part of the solution, particularly where it relates to any use of piezoelectric actuators.”

Like Boréas’ BOS1901CQ, the BOS1901CW is a high-voltage low-power piezo driver IC that is based on Boréas’ patented CapDrive technology, a proprietary scalable piezo driver architecture that provides the foundation for Boréas’ haptic chips. 

CapDrive delivers the advantages of piezoelectric material to the designer: greater energy efficiency, low heat dissipation and rapid response times, making CapDrive chips ideal for resource-constrained devices in which size, power and thermal management are essential.

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