Noise-immune solution revolutionises capacitive sensing

29th October 2015
Posted By : Nat Bowers
Noise-immune solution revolutionises capacitive sensing

Texas Instruments has introduced a capacitive sensing IC family that is immune to environmental noise from sources such as radios, power supplies, lights and motors. The FDC2214 family offers 60 times better performance in the presence of noise than existing capacitive-sensing solutions, enabling low-cost capacitive-based human body and object sensing in any environment.

The new devices bring the benefits of capacitive sensing to applications that previously relied on other sensing technologies, enabling engineers to deliver noise-immune solutions that offer improved aesthetics, lower system cost and better reliability in automotive, consumer and industrial applications.

The FDC2214 family's unique narrow-band architecture eliminates unwanted noise and common environmental interferences, bringing the benefits of capacitive sensing to today's real-world sensing applications, including display wakeup on devices such as appliances, automotive displays, thermostats and consumer electronics to reduce power consumption. The FDC2214 ICs also enable capacitive sensing for automatic doors or gates that avoid collisions by sensing nearby objects or humans. In addition, designers can use the FDC2214 ICs to detect the wave of a hand to activate a soap dispenser, change a car radio station for safer driving and more.

Key features and benefits of the FDC2214 capacitive-sensing family:

  • Proximity sensing in any environment: With noise immunity of 36dB, the FDC2214 family offers performance 60x better in the presence of noise than existing capacitive-sensing solutions, enabling significantly better capacitive sensing of the human body and objects in real-world environments such as homes, offices, factories, automobiles and the outdoors.
  • Enables improved industrial design: The FDC2214 capacitive sensing IC enables sensing through any nonconductive material, so designers can avoid drilling holes in end equipment, improving aesthetics and lowering production costs.
  • Low-cost and reliable solution for sensing in fluctuating environmental conditions: The FDC2214 family is insensitive to ambient light and can detect the presence of black and dark objects. This reliability comes without a cost trade-off; the sensor can be any conductor, such as copper on the PCB, conductive ink or a piece of metal. The FDC2214 also allows for remote sensing, which enables multiple sensors and greater functionality at minimum system cost.
  • Allows use of smaller sensors: The high performance of the FDC2214 family, even in the presence of noise, enables designers to use smaller capacitive sensors and extend their proximity sensing range.

The FDC2214 family offers a broad range of tools to ease design, including a TI Designs reference design for a noise-immune capacitive proximity sensor system.The FDC2214EVM and FDC2114EVM evaluation modules enable designers to quickly and easily evaluate the device's accuracy. Each is available for a suggested retail price of $29.

Each device in the FDC2214 family measures 4x4mm and is easily configured via its I2C interface. Available in QFN-16 and WSON-12 packages, pricing in 1,000 unit quantities starts at $2.38.

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