To enhance the user's experience and accuracy in using touch-sensitive input devices, MCU developers are turning to the emerging haptic technologies. They allow a panel or keyboard to generate a physical sensation in the user's fingertip, bringing an additional dimension to man-machine interactions. Recent steps forward in bringing this technology close to mainstream indicate the industry's belief in its potential.
Touch screens are wonderful tools for many kinds of user interfaces. By eliminating the moving parts inherent in switches, levers, and knobs, touch-sensitive input devices help increase reliability in electronic designs. Touch screen displays can support an interface that changes layout and options, providing immense flexibility in equipment design.
But there is a downside. Depending on how sensitive the touch-input device is, you may accidentally activate something without knowing it, leading to a confusing response. My mother does that all the time with her Kindle Fire -- touching the screen without knowing. It makes her experience of the device frustrating as the machine seems to do things unbidden.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.