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MEMS and Sensors

Touch-sensing Controllers Target Mechanical Switch Replacement

07 December 2015

Microchip Technology Inc. expanded its capacitive touch-sensing technology portfolio with the release of three new touch controllers. The 2-, 5-, and 8-channel controllers are designed to replace mechanical buttons with a digital output, eliminate the need to write software to touch-enable products. They support sensing through plastic, wood, and even metal front panels. Applications for the two-channel MTCH102, five-channel MTCH105, and eight-channel MTCH108 include home lighting controls and thermostats, copiers, printers, appliances, and toys.

The 2-, 5-, and 8-channel controllers are designed to replace mechanical buttons with a digital output.The 2-, 5-, and 8-channel controllers are designed to replace mechanical buttons with a digital output.

According to Microchip, the controllers support a wide range of touch-sensor shapes and sizes, feature automatic compensation for environmental conditions, and provide reliable operation in the presence of water. Two channels can be combined to produce an active guard arrangement that increases proximity-sensing sensitivity and makes the electronic design more robust, even with long board traces to the touch sensors. Multi-stage noise filtering algorithms in the new controllers improve detection and reliability, and permit sensing through a glove.

The controllers operate from a 2.1 V to 3.6 V supply, and offer adjustable sensitivity with compensation for different sensing surface sizes. They operate over the -40°C to 85°C temperature range.

Pricing & Availability

All three parts in the series are available for sampling and volume production. The two-channel MTCH102, in a MSOP or uDFN package, is priced starting at $0.44 each, in 10,000-unit quantities. The five-channel MTCH105, in a QFN or TSSOP package, starts at $0.59 each, in 10,000-unit quantities. The eight-channel MTCH108, in a uQFN or SSOP package, starts at $0.65 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

A compact demonstration board (part number DM160229, $29.95) is also available, to speed evaluation and development.

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