The world’s lowest-power capacitive touch MCUs

13th November 2015
Nat Bowers

Texas Instruments has announced MSP430 FRAM MCUs with CapTIvate technology, which are claimed to be the world’s lowest-power capacitive touch MCUs. The MSP430FR2633 MCU with CapTIvate technology offers comprehensive hardware and software features for the most reliable performance in noise-challenged applications, including electronic access controls, appliances, personal electronics, industrial control panels and more.

Expanding TI’s 16-bit ultra-low-power FRAM MCU portfolio, the MSP430FR2633 MCU with CapTIvate technology enables designers of all skill levels to build robust HMI with capacitive buttons, sliders, wheels or proximity sensors. It also enables multi-touch designs with plastic, glass and metal overlays of various thicknesses. Designers can quickly create innovative solutions with the new CapTIvate Design Center, a GUI that allows developers to drag and drop sensors for quick system configuration and start tuning for performance in five minutes or less.

Wake-on-touch hardware on chip can continuously scan up to four electrodes while the CPU is shut down, enabling up to 15 years of operation on a single coin cell battery with industry-leading current consumption of 0.9µA per button in sleep mode. The industry’s broadest portfolio of ultra-low-power MCUs with FRAM feature non-volatile memory with greater endurance and 100 times faster write speeds, enabling systems to wake from the lowest power standby modes in a fraction of the time. FRAM also provides the option of saving and restoring button state in the event of power failure without the use of space-consuming backup batteries.

MSP430FR2633 MCUs with CapTIvate technology offer developers a great deal of design flexibility without compromises. In an access control system, a proximity sensor may be needed to illuminate the screen and a large matrix of buttons to support user input. Self-capacitance provides higher sensitivity for proximity sensing, while mutual-capacitance allows for a large number of tightly packed buttons with lower crosstalk. CapTIvate technology provides flexibility to simultaneously support self-capacitance and mutual capacitance for an enhanced system solution. The MSP430FR2633 MCU can support 16 button self-capacitance and 64 button mutual-capacitance modes.

TI’s new CapTIvate technology, offered for the first time on the MSP430FR2633 MCU, provides advanced hardware features like a dedicated voltage regulator, frequency hopping, zero crossing synchronisation and signal processing algorithms that prevent false detects in noisy environments. Furthermore, spread spectrum clocking lowers electromagnetic radiation, reducing emissions to system circuitry.

  • MSP430FR2633 MCUs can be used to meet the standards for IEC-4-x with conducted noise immunity up to 10Vrms and ESD and EFT up to 4kV peak voltage;
  • Create intelligent HMI systems with low-power data logging capabilities that do not sacrifice lifetime or power consumption of the product;
  • Comprehensive MSP430FR2633 MCU development kit available for a quick evaluation of self-capacitance, mutual-capacitance and proximity solutions. Reference designs and code examples provided for noise immunity and moisture rejection to enable quick evaluation and faster time-to-market;
  • TI’s haptic solutions work with a wide range of piezo, Linear Resonant Actuator (LRA) and Eccentric Rotating Mass (ERM) actuators to provide realistic and consistent tactile effects. A reference design for integrating haptic-feedback is provided in the MSP430FR2633 MCU development kit.

The MSP430FR2633 MCU is available for immediate sampling. Production quantities of the device with up to 16kB FRAM, a wide variety of features and package sizes will be available in 2015. Pricing for these MCUs will start at $0.90 in 1,000 unit quantities. Developers can start designing immediately with MSP-CAPT-FR2633 CapTIvate MCU Development Kit for $99.

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