LONDON Japanese groups Renesas Technology and Omron Corp. are joining forces to develop capacitive touch sensor technology.
As part of the deal, initially Renesas will integrate Omron's touch sensor technology into its R8C range of 16-bit microcontrollers, which are used in industrial and consumer applications.
The companies say that integrating these functions on a single chip eliminates the need for a large number of external peripheral devices such as capacitors and resistors, and also helps reduce power consumption.
"By fusing our MCU and analogue peripheral circuit technology with capacitive touch sensor technology from Omron, we will be able to offer our customers MCUs with highly reliable and cost-effective touch sensor functionality,” said Yasushi Akao, Renesas Technology board director and executive general manager of the MCU business group.
Soichi Yukawa, Omron senior managing officer and electronic components business, stressed that touch sensors have suffered in recent years due to problems regarding design flexibility and convenience.
But he added "the products that will result from this joint development project will combine sensor technology and MCU technology — the core competences of the two partners — to realize systems with a new level of 'user friendliness' and lead to wider adoption of touch interfaces."
Capacitive touch sensors allow the on or off state of a user interface to be detected based on the stored electric charge and represent an improvement on older resistive touch technology.
The technology is increasingly being deployed in consumer devices such as MP3 players, mobile phones and game machines, as well as in household appliances, AV equipment and point-of-sale terminals.
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