Resistive multi-touch single-chip controller targets advanced multi-touch screen market

STMicroelectronics has introduced an advanced multi-touch 'resistive' touchscreen controller chip to optimize the Bill of Materials of the electronics supporting the advanced multi-touch capability of smartphones, mobile internet devices and netbooks that feature touchscreens to support increasingly sophisticated 'apps' and games.

The STM32TS60 is the first member of ST's new STMTouch family, which offers a broad portfolio of solutions including multi-touch devices and proximity and touch-key sensors.

The new multi-touch controller detects up to ten simultaneous touches with fingers, nails or stylus, enabling application designers to replace complex menu sequences with more direct and natural user controls. Actions made easier with multi-touch capabilities include browsing and selecting options, handwriting and data entry, arranging and sizing windows, picking up and dragging images, and fast and intuitive game play. Other abilities include drawing pictures, using touch pressure to adjust line thickness.

Employing resistive touch-panel technology, the STM32TS60 controller offers customers a real alternative and complements the recent industry trend for using capacitive touch technology. Resistive technology is a cost effective and mature high-volume solution that has seen improved performance over the past few years in terms of durability and display transparency. In addition, it easily overcomes EMI (electromagnetic interference) noise issues, which can be an inherent limitation with alternative touch technologies. Resistive technology is already widely used in PDAs and similar touch-enabled devices and the screens are readily available in standard LCD sizes and at competitive prices.

The new chip combines the company's efficient STM32 microcontroller architecture with PMatrix Multi-Touch technology from ST's partner Stantum, a leader in touch-sensing processing, to achieve fast response times while minimizing system complexity and component count.

The STM32TS60 single-core microcontroller is an added-value solution compared to other expensive multi-core processor or digital signal processors (DSPs) requiring specialized programming expertise.

The STM32TS60's high EMI immunity makes it suitable for use in multi-function wireless products such as cellphones, notebook PCs, netbooks and mobile Internet devices. Moreover, its low power consumption helps to maximize operating times and recharge intervals, and is a direct benefit of the STM32's energy-saving design features and ARM Cortex-M3 processor conceived for power-sensitive embedded applications. In addition, very-low-power idle mode with 'wake-up on touch only' helps further extend mobile battery life.

The STM32TS60 is housed in a 7 x 7mm 144-pin UFBGA package, and is now sampling to lead customers. Volume production is expected for Q2 2010.

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