BOSTON, MA -- Looking to match companies such as Cypress Semiconductor and Microchip Technology for the growing market for capacitive touch user interfaces in mobile/handheld and industrial applications, Atmel has just entered into an agreement with Quantum Research.
At the Embedded Systems Conference here, company executives revealed that they have just licensed Quantum's QTouch and QMatrix capacitive touch technologies. According to Ingar Fredriksen, director of AVR marketing at Atmel, Quantum's Intellectual Property will be programmed into the company's AVR microcontrollers for use not only in human touch interfacing apps but in a variety of capacitive sensor industrial designs, such as in driving motor controls, LEDs, and displays.
QTouch is used for simple key applications typical on industrial control while QMatrix will be used for larger keypad arrays and keyboards. Also, said Fredriksen, the company is licensing Quantum's QWheel and QSlide software, which can be used for rotary and linear control interfaces, respectively.
He said that Atmel chose Quantum's technology because it seemed to be more robust than alternative capacitive touch sensors. It makes use of a spread-spectrum modulation technique to improve electromagnetic compatibility and improve signal-to-noise ratio in harsh operating environments typical of industrial apps.
The first family of Atmel capacitive touch devices, he said, will be introduced early next year.