Freescale Unveils MPR031 Proximity Capacitive Touch Sensor Controller

Touch sensors have become increasingly popular as more consumer, industrial and automotive designs include touch panels to provide simpler, more reliable user interfaces. Freescale Semiconductor, a leading designer and manufacturer of sensors, is meeting the demand for touch-sensitive control with the introduction of an ultra-low-power touch controller for two- and three-pad touch-sensing applications.

Freescale’s MPR031 proximity capacitive touch sensor controller is designed to simplify the development of a wide range of touch-sensing applications, such as appliance controls, games, patient monitoring systems, remote controls, PC peripherals, webcams, vehicle and garage key fobs, dimmer switches and security systems. These compact, energy-efficient sensor controllers are especially well-suited for power-sensitive mobile electronics devices including mobile phones, multimedia players and audio controls for Bluetooth® handsets.

The MPR031 sensor can serve a wide range of applications that need to activate up to three touch pads. For example, the sensors can be used in an alarm system to replace a mechanical switch or push button. End users can simply touch an indicated command on the touch panel, and the alarm sounds or deactivates depending on the requested function. Using the MPR031 sensor to replace mechanical pushbuttons on portable electronic devices enables interface design innovations, such as the ability to enlarge the LCD display for portrait or landscape orientation placement options.

“Advances in touch sensor technology are making sensor-driven interfaces easier to implement in mobile electronics devices as well more intuitive and simpler for end users to operate,” said Demetre Kondylis, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Sensor & Actuator Solutions Division. “Freescale’s latest touch sensor controller offers an elegant, cost-effective and reliable alternative to mechanical interfaces, which contain moving parts that are subject to wear and tear.”

Touch sensing technology is increasingly popular in consumer, industrial and automotive applications because it:

  • Enables the elimination of mechanical buttons and sliders
  • Provides an intuitive, easy-to-use “fingertip control” interface
  • Enhances reliability by eliminating mechanical wear and tear
  • Provides greater flexibility for product designers
  • Reduces overall system costs

Advanced touch sensor controller portfolio
The MPR031 touch sensor controller is a CMOS-based, register-driven state machine designed to deliver exceptional system-level intelligence. The device’s on-chip tri-level filtering technology enables configurable electromagnetic interference (EMI) rejection. Proven CMOS technology helps to protect against electrostatic discharge (ESD), which can cause system-wide damage and interruption of service. Freescale’s state machine and CMOS technology also enables low operating voltage and current, resulting in low-power benefits for mobile device applications. The voltage operation range is 1.71 V to 2.75 V, which is ideal for small low-power electronics products.

The MPR031 device supports communication via the inter-integrated circuit protocol (I2C). Offering exceptional sensitivity and a specialized feature set, the sensor controllers can accommodate a wide range of system implementations. To simplify the design of touch-based applications, the sensor controllers can be used as drop-in replacements for mechanical devices or switches.

For applications that require more than three touch sensor-based buttons, Freescale also offers the MPR032 controller. The MPR032 features a secondary I2C address, which enables developers to use two of these devices in the same system.

MPR031 controller features

  • Eight microamp average supply current
  • Four microamp maximum shutdown current
  • Compact 2 mm x 2 mm x 0.65 mm 8-lead UDFN package
  • Supports up to three touch pads
  • Touch sensing solution requires only one external component
  • Intelligent touch detection capability
  • 1.71 V to 2.75 V operation
  • Threshold based detection with hysteresis
  • I2C interface, with optional IRQ
  • Multiple devices in a system support up to six electrodes
  • -40 degrees C to +85 degrees C operating temperature range

Pricing and availability
The suggested resale price for the MPR031 touch sensor controller in 10,000-piece quantities is 61 cents (USD).

Freescale offers several kits to help reduce implementation development cycle time. The KITMPR031EVM is available at a suggested resale price of $99 (USD) each. The DEMMOMPR031EVM is available at a suggested resale price of $25 (USD) each.

For more information about Freescale’s proximity touch sensor solutions, visit www.freescale.com/files/pr/proximity.html

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2007 sales of $5.7 billion (USD).

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