Cypress PSoC CapSense Heats Therma Blade Hockey Skates

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY) announced that its PSoC® CapSense(TM) solution for capacitive sensing is employed in the revolutionary new heated hockey blades made by Therma Blade, Inc. Therma Blades are technologically advanced skate blades that use electronics to heat the blade, thereby reducing friction between the blade and ice surface, creating a smoother feel, and improved skating performance.

The PSoC solution allows the heat to be turned on and off using touch sensitive controls, eliminating the need for mechanical buttons that can be broken or pressed accidentally, an important feature considering the very physical nature of hockey. The CapSense solution also is waterproof, a feature that is useful for hockey, as well as white goods such as washing machines and dishwashers, and industrial equipment. The skate takes advantage of a CapSensePLUS device in which the PSoC solution does much more than just on and off controls. The CapSense device also heats the skate blade and powers down the system during periods of inactivity to extend battery life.

The new product, an aftermarket blade that attaches to any conventional hockey skate boot, was recently launched to the retail market, endorsed by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

“The Therma Blade concept is simple, yet it takes complex electronics to bring it to market with the combination of intelligence, light weight and economy that our product delivers,” said Michael Chiasson, vice president of Research, Design & Development for Therma Blade. “The flexibility of the PSoC solution and the help we received from our design partner, Artaflex, were instrumental in getting this product to market quickly and with the right features to make it successful.”

“As a lifelong hockey fan, I am very excited to see our PSoC solution add value to this truly revolutionary new product” said Norm Taffe, executive vice president of Cypress’s Consumer and Computation Division. “This design demonstrates the tremendous flexibility of our PSoC family.”

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. In addition, users can complete CapSense designs quickly and easily using pre-configured and verified “user modules” within Cypress’s PSoC Designer(TM) 4.4 Integrated Design Environment (IDE), and experience real-time sensor tuning and monitoring with PSoC Express(TM) visual embedded system design tool.

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 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 Therma Blade, Inc.
Canadian skate blade maker Therma Blade Inc. is a Quebec-based manufacturer of heated skate blade technology that was first thought of by Alberta inventor Tory Weber. Therma Blade is a technologically advanced skate blade that uses battery powered electrical energy to slightly heat the skate blade, thereby increasing the layer of water between the blade and the ice surface and reducing friction at the ice surface. Therma Blade has several proven physiological and performance benefits for hockey players, including a dramatic reduction in gliding friction and starting resistance, an overall increase in stamina and an overall decrease in fatigue.

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® 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® 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 CapSense and PSoC Designer are trademarks of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.