Cypress Creates New Capacitive Sensing Methods for PSoC CapSense

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY) introduced two new sensing methods for its PSoC(R) CapSense capacitive sensing solution offering designers best-in-class performance. The new methods are provided in the PSoC Designer(TM) integrated development environment as user modules – CapSense Sigma-Delta Modulator (CSD) and CapSense Successive Approximation (CSA).

The CSD User Module delivers the ability for buttons, sliders, touchpads and touch screens to operate flawlessly in wet conditions, and offers superb temperature response, positioning it for excellent performance in white goods and other moisture-sensitive systems. High-level decision logic provides compensation for environmental factors, such as temperature, humidity, and power supply voltage change. A separate shield electrode can be used to reduce stray capacitance, providing more reliable operation in the presence of a water film or droplets.

The CSA User Module offers significant improvements in performance, by delivering 45 times better interference immunity and 60 percent lower power consumption, making it ideal for portable consumer applications. It supports a combination of buttons, sliders, touchpads and touch screens in union with high-level software routines that compensate for environmental and physical sensor variations.

“Cypress’s initial CapSense Relaxation Oscillator (CSR) User Module offered excellent performance across a broad range of applications, and was one of the reasons for the phenomenal success of CapSense,” said Carl Brasek, business unit director for Cypress’s CapSense products. “These new user modules provide sensing methods to overcome harsh environmental conditions, enabling an even wider range of applications to use capacitive sensing.”

Price and Availability
The CSA user module is available in the CY8C20x34 device family and as part of the CY3203A-CapSense Development Kit. The CSD user module is available in the CY8C21x34 and CY8C24x94 device families and as part of the CY3213A-CapSense Development Kit. Both kits are priced at USD$89, and are available from the Online Store.

About CapSense
A single CapSense device can replace dozens of mechanical switches and controls with a simple, touch-sensitive interface. CapSense-based “button” and “slider” controls are more reliable than their mechanical counterparts because they are not prone to the environmental wear-and-tear that affects exposed buttons and switches. Cypress has garnered well over 100 CapSense design wins worldwide in applications that include mobile handsets, portable media players, white goods, computers, printers and automotive, among others.

Capacitive sensing is fast becoming the solution of choice for front-panel display and media control applications. Increased durability, decreased bill of materials (BOM) and a clean, minimalist appearance make this elegant interface attractive to a wide range of designs. With Cypress’s CapSense interface, a finger on the interface forms an electrical connection with embedded sensors, which work with the PSoC device to translate data about the finger’s presence into various system control functions. The sensor itself is only a copper pad on the PCB, not an actual component. All of the circuitry for controlling the sensor is inside the PSoC device.

Cypress’s CapSense solution offers system designers numerous advantages over capacitive sensing products built around modules and sub-assemblies, including increased flexibility, reduced board space and lower cost. Because of the unique PSoC architecture, designers can easily integrate multiple functions (e.g., LED drivers and LCD displays), in addition to capacitive sensing. The PSoC CapSense solution also delivers benefits such as easy communications using either I2C, SPI or USB interfaces, the ability to implement both trackpad (x-y matrix) and linear slider applications with the same device, and the ability to make quick design changes using the flash-based PSoC architecture.

About the PSoC Family
PSoC devices are configurable mixed signal arrays that integrate a fast 8-bit microcontroller with many peripheral functions typically found in an embedded design. PSoC devices provide the advantages of an ASIC without the ASIC NRE or turn-around time. A single PSoC device can integrate as many as 100 peripheral functions with a microcontroller, saving customers design time, board space and power consumption. Customers can save from 5 cents to as much as $10 in system costs. Easy to use development tools enable designers to select configurable library elements to provide analog functions such as amplifiers, ADCs, DACs, filters and comparators and digital functions such as timers, counters, PWMs, SPI and UARTs. The PSoC family’s analog features include rail-to-rail inputs, programmable gain amplifiers and up to 14-bit ADCs with exceptionally low noise, input leakage and voltage offset. PSoC devices include up to 32KB of Flash memory, 2KB of SRAM, an 8×8 multiplier with 32-bit accumulator, power and sleep monitoring circuits, and hardware I2C communications.

All PSoC devices are dynamically reconfigurable, enabling designers to create new system functions on-the-fly. Designers can achieve far greater than 100 percent utilization of the die, in many cases, by reconfiguring the same silicon for different functions at different times.

About Cypress
Cypress delivers high-performance, mixed-signal, programmable solutions that provide customers with rapid time-to-market and exceptional system value. Cypress offerings include the PSoC(R) Programmable System-on-Chip(TM), USB controllers, general-purpose programmable clocks and memories. Cypress also offers wired and wireless connectivity solutions ranging from its WirelessUSB(TM) radio system-on-chip, to West Bridge(TM) and EZ-USB(R) FX2LP controllers that enhance connectivity and performance in multimedia handsets. Cypress serves numerous markets including consumer, computation, data communications, automotive, industrial, and solar power. Cypress trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol CY.

Cypress, the Cypress logo and PSoC are registered trademarks and PSoC Designer is a trademark of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.