SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski

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Renesas Electronics New Intellectual Property for Capacitive Touch Delivers Industry-Leading Performance for Human-Machine Interface Applications

Renesas Electronics America Inc., a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced development of innovative new intellectual property (IP) that implements industry-leading capacitive-touch sensing technology ideal for home appliances and healthcare equipment. The IP achieves high-touch sensitivity five times1 superior compared to that of Renesas’ R8C/3xT microcontrollers (MCUs), as well as high-noise immunity allowing the technology to pass strict noise tests. Furthermore, for the first time, Renesas IP supports the mutual-capacitance method which is more reliable and versatile than the conventional self-capacitance method.

In the human machine interface (HMI) field for electric and electronic equipment, touch-key manipulation interfaces are the subject of increasing attention. Capacitive-touch panels are being rapidly adopted because touch-key operation can easily improve reliability in product design and enhance the end-user experience. In fact, system manufacturers are now developing new touch panels with a curved surface, instead of the traditional planar surfaces that have been mainstream until now. Looking ahead, touch-panel technologies with even better sensitivity and noise resistance will become highly demanded for a wide range of applications.

As a leader in the global MCU industry, Renesas helped to drive adoption of touch-key manipulation systems in October 2009 when it launched its R8C/3xT series of MCUs supporting capacitive-touch interfaces. Renesas expects strong growth in the market for touch-key systems and, by leveraging innovative technologies like its newest IP, the company intends to be a key player with technology and products supporting HMI applications.

Key Features of the New IP:

(1) Industry-leading1 high-sensitivity and high-noise immunity

The Renesas IP not only offers high-noise immunity, but also provides characteristics that allow reliable sensing even with acrylic panels with thicknesses in excess of 10 mm. The technology can implement flexible designs, for example products with curved panels. In addition, the IP provides a high-level of touch sensitivity, so it can expand the range of scenarios for consumer interaction, such as gloved hands and proximity sensing where there is no actual touch. Because the IP passes strict electromagnetic noise testing stipulated in the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 61000-4-3 and IEC 61000-4-62 standards, it enables the design of robust systems even under noisy conditions.

(2) Support for the mutual-capacitance method

The new IP supports the mutual-capacitance method, which makes it easier to implement moisture proofing measures in end products, so that false detections do not occur even if there is water on the touch key area. The IP also supports embedding touch keys in a matrix configuration to eliminate false-ghost detections, a phenomenon associated with devices implementing the self-capacitance method. This allows the number of touch keys to be increased with a minimal number of pins.

(3) Development environment that significantly reduces the development burden

Renesas plans to provide a new development environment that maintains compatibility with the existing Renesas tool chain while improving ease of use for its customers. The newly-developed touch-panel IP is ideal for use in home appliances and healthcare equipment, but can also be applied in any field where longevity and reliability are required, like factory automation (FA) and home security. Renesas is committed to providing customers with optimal solutions in a timely manner, and is proceeding with the development of MCUs that incorporate the company’s newest IP.

Availability

Samples of Renesas Electronics' MCUs incorporating the new static capacitive touch panel IP are expected to be available during the fiscal year 2014. (Availability is subject to change without notice.)

About Renesas Electronics America Inc.

Renesas Electronics America, Inc., headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Renesas Electronics Corporation (TSE: 6723), the world's number one supplier of microcontrollers and a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions including microcontrollers, SoC solutions, and a broad range of analog and power devices. More information about the products offered by Renesas Electronics America can be found at http://am.renesas.com/.

For more information, follow Renesas Electronics America at @RenesasAmerica on Twitter and http://www.facebook.com/RenesasAmerica.

All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Notes:

(Note 1) As of July 15, 2014

(Note 2) The IEC 61000-4-3 and IEC 61000-4-6 standards:

IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standards for EMS.

4-3: Radiated, radio-frequency, electromagnetic field immunity test

4-6: Immunity to conducted disturbances, induced by radio-frequency fields

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