Touch-free UI solutions with capacitive touch-key MCUs

5th April 2019
Source: Renesas
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Touch-free UI solutions with capacitive touch-key MCUs

Supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, Renesas Electronics, has introduced two touch-free user interface (UI) solutions to simplify the design of 2D and 3D control-based applications. Based on Renesas’ capacitive sensor microcontrollers (MCUs), the new solutions support the development of UI that allows users to operate home appliances, as well as industrial and OA equipment without touching the devices.

The UI solutions make it possible for appliance and equipment manufacturers to quickly develop touch-free interfaces that increase the added-value of their products in terms of both equipment convenience and design.

There are a variety of situations where touch-free operation is advantageous, such as when the users’ hands are wet, when the controls are out of reach, or when it is not safe for the user to touch the controls. Renesas new touch-free UI, for example in the kitchen, users could adjust water temperature and flow rate through hand gestures near the faucets or adjust stove fan operation by holding a hand over the hood. The touch-free UI solutions allow customers to easily implement these interfaces in their embedded equipment. The reference designs are available for downloaded effective immediately. 

Toru Moriya, Vice President, Home Business Division, Renesas Electronics Corporation, said: “We are pleased with the strong response to our MCU-based touch-key solutions, which are currently deployed by more than 200 Renesas customers, and we are excited to continue enabling customers with solutions that bring new capabilities and experiences to the market.

“The new touch-free solutions represent another step in the evolution of capacitive touch sensor systems with high sensitivity and excellent resistance to noise for operation in multiple conditions and will lead to new UIs that are more user-friendly and convenient to use both in the home and in the workplace.” 

Key features of the touch-free UI solutions:
The new gesture solutions detect motion in a 2D coordinate system and in 3D space, respectively. With both solutions, Renesas provides design materials (circuit diagrams, board design data files, and parts lists) that form the reference hardware for the capacitive touch-key MCU, as well as coordinate calculation middleware, sample programs, application notes, and an evaluation tool for monitoring the detected coordinates. 

The touch-free UI solutions have passed class B (note 3) testing for the IEC 61000 4-3 level 3 (note 1) and 4-6 level 3 (note 2) noise immunity standards, and can achieve stable operation (Note 4). 

The 3D gesture solution is available in three different sizes and can be selected based on the application:

  • Standard version (160x160x100mm) with RX231 MCU.
  • Miniature version (80x80x80mm) with RX130 MCU.
  • Slim version (100x100x20mm) with RX130 MCU for additional space saving .

About Renesas touch-key solutions:
In addition to the new touch-free UI solutions, Renesas offers touch-key solutions for devices designed to operate with challenging or non-traditional touch materials such as woods, or required to operate in wet or dirty environments such as a kitchen or a factory floor.

Renesas provides a development environment with QE for Capacitive Touch, Workbench6, solution kits and evaluation systems specialised for capacitive touch key development in addition to Renesas’ capacitive touch key MCUs starting with the RX130 Group, which are ideal for use in HMI for industrial equipment and home appliances. 

Moving forward, Renesas will continue to pursue the development HMI-based solutions that enhance users’ everyday experiences with their appliances and equipment and contribute to a smart society.


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