Piezo panel touch button controller operates standalone
Aito BV, supplier of software-enhanced piezo (SEP) touch control technology, has announced its ATB252 AitoTouch Controller, which allows touch panel designs to be created that do not require an external host processor or other supervisory device. This feature is enabled by the inclusion of a Digital Direct Output (DDO) mode that, in addition to conventional I2C and SPI host communication interfaces, allows the ATB252 to be directly configured from an EEPROM to provide a standalone solution.
The ATB252 implements Aito’s SEP technology, that allows touch buttons to be implemented on metal and other surfaces, and supports up to 6 piezo touch key inputs in combination with up to 11 LED indicators and a buzzer output. In DDO mode, six of the ATB252 pins become outputs that are directly mapped to each individual piezo input. These outputs signal touch button operation in one of several ways, which can be selected according to system requirements; so pressing a key can either cause the associated output to go high or low, or trigger an output pulse, or toggle from one state to the other with each key press.
As with other AitoTouch solutions, the ATB252 allows the piezo sensing parameters for each key to be individually configured for sensitivity, detection area and to cope with different overlay stiffness or mechanical integration conditions. Also, the LED indicator and audible buzzer responses for each button can be individually defined with a customised feedback pattern.
“The ATB252 extends the scope of AitoTouch to simpler touch control applications where the added intelligence of a host processor is not required, and where the configuration can easily be saved to low-cost EEPROM for each product design”, said Pauli Laitinen, Aito CTO and co-founder, “With this device, Aito aims to expand the replacement rate of traditional mechanical buttons, as well as capacitive ones, to a wider range of industrial and low cost appliances than ever before.”
Aito’s SEP technology allows the creation of seamless touch keys on any surface, replacing traditional mechanical switches and overcoming the problems of capacitive and other touch technologies that either require significant button travel or will not operate with gloved hands or through metal panel overlays. Target markets are those where this capability adds value in design aesthetics and functionality to provide a quality user experience. Applications include: kitchen appliances, such as ovens, hobs, hoods, refrigerators, coffee machines, toasters, as well as consumer audio/video and home automation products, but also medical equipment and industrial controls, where the benefits of sealed panels and robust, reliable operation are vital.
The ATB252 18-channel AitoTouch chip is priced at $1.45 (100,000), and is available from authorized Aito distributors. As with all AitoChip solutions, BOM cost savings are also achieved through reduced component count, and from the lower inventory and maintenance costs enabled by using standardized touch control modules in multiple end-product designs.