Displays

Intuitive touch controls brought to smart devices

3rd February 2020
Alex Lynn

STMicroelectronics and Fieldscale, an ST Authorised Partner and provider of simulation software, have joined forces to simplify development of touch-enabled user interfaces for smart devices containing ST’s STM32 microcontrollers (MCUs).

Intuitive touch controls are convenient and attractive for end users, and can enhance product reliability, ingress protection, and cost-effectiveness. On the other hand, development can be challenging. Using a conventional iterative design approach, optimising to eliminate unwanted effects and ensure consistent responses for touch sensing in all operating conditions can involve building multiple prototypes.

ST and Fieldscale now enable STM32 customers to take a faster and more efficient route to market by introducing support for ST’s Arm Cortex-based 32-bit MCUs to Fieldscale’s SENSE development platform.

Fieldscale SENSE is an end-to-end solution for the design, schematic capture, and system-level simulation of capacitive touch sensors. The latest version lets STM32 users quickly design the touch sensor and PCB layout for virtual system simulation purposes.

The cloud-based development platform implements sophisticated electromagnetic algorithms, which drives accurate prediction of the system performance. Users can optimise the design and quickly re-simulate to fine-tune the performance before committing to hardware. With greater assurance that first prototypes will deliver close to the desired performance, users can lower development costs and accelerate time to market.

“At Fieldscale, our goal is to offer to all capacitive-touch design engineers a complete software solution supporting them end-to-end, from the early design up to the tuning of the final system. Integrating STM32 support is a major achievement towards this goal and we couldn’t be more satisfied,” said Yiorgos Bontzios, PhD, Fieldscale CEO and Co-Founder. 

Patrice Hamard, Microcontroller Product Marketing Manager, STMicroelectronics, added: “Customers using our STM32 microcontrollers can now take full advantage of Fieldscale SENSE to implement simple and intuitive touch-based controls for smart devices and give their products a competitive edge.”

Fieldscale SENSE is available now as an online service and comes with a flexible pricing model to meet your requirements/needs. Please contact Fieldscale for further information.

As a cloud-based development platform accessed via an intuitive web interface, Fieldscale SENSE enables users to online evaluate their touch sensors using powerful proprietary field solvers and algorithms. Unlike conventional PC-based software, there are no installation challenges or system-performance limitations.

Fieldscale SENSE simulation results have been validated against measurements from actual touch-sensor manufacturers, confirming the results are accurate to within two percent. 

Before committing to building physical prototypes, with Fieldscale SENSE users can:

  • Design or import capacitive touch sensor layout as a standard DXF or Gerber file(s).
  • Easily create the complete 3D model of the sensor by simply clicking their way through material and connections assignment. Fieldscale SENSE applies the appropriate boundary conditions automatically.
  • Simulate the touch-sensor performance including the effects of using a stylus or wearing gloves.
  • Add RF conducted noise into the system, to simulate the testing procedure as specified in the IEC61000-4-6 standard, to evaluate the noise immunity of your system
  • Understand effects such as coupling between traces and electrodes that can interfere with the touch-sensor performance, to identify required modifications.

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