Electronics & Computers

ST Unveils Resistive Multi-Touch Controller

January 7, 2010

The single-chip device combines best-in-class processing and software to support economical, low-power gesture-based applications in next-generation consumer electronic devices.

GENEVA /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As the latest high-tech devices, such as smartphones, mobile internet devices, and netbooks adopt multi-touch touchscreens to support increasingly sophisticated apps and games, STMicroelectronics (ST), a world leader in microcontrollers, has introduced a very advanced multi-touch resistive touchscreen controller chip to optimize the bill of materials of the electronics supporting this advanced capability. The STM32TS60 is the first member of ST's new STMTouch family, which offers a broad portfolio of solutions, including multi-touch devices and proximity and touch-key sensors.

The new multi-touch controller detects up to ten simultaneous touches with fingers, nails, or stylus, enabling application designers to replace complex menu sequences with more direct and natural user controls. Actions made easier with multi-touch capabilities include browsing and selecting options, handwriting and data entry, arranging and sizing windows, picking up and dragging images, and fast and intuitive game play. Other abilities include drawing pictures, using touch pressure to adjust line thickness.

Employing resistive touch-panel technology, the STM32TS60 controller offers customers a real alternative and complements the recent industry trend for using capacitive touch technology. Resistive technology is a cost-effective and mature high-volume solution that has seen dramatically improved performance over the past few years in terms of durability and display transparency. In addition, it easily overcomes electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise issues, which can be an inherent limitation with alternative touch technologies. Resistive technology is already widely used in PDAs and similar touch-enabled devices, and the screens are readily available in standard LCD sizes and at competitive prices.

The new chip combines the company's highly efficient STM32 microcontroller architecture with PMatrix Multi-Touch technology from ST's partner Stantum, a leader in touch-sensing processing, to achieve fast response times while minimizing system complexity and component count.

The STM32TS60 single-core microcontroller is an added-value solution compared with other expensive multi-core processor or digital signal processors requiring specialized programming expertise.

"The STM32TS60 is the first member of ST's new STMTouch family and provides a very low power, highly reliable alternative to capacitive touch screen solutions," said Jim Nicholas, General Manager of ST's Microcontrollers Division. "By leveraging the advanced processing and low power of the STM32 and STM8 processor platforms, and supporting different touch-screen capabilities, STMTouch is a versatile platform for next-generation consumer devices, offering compelling features, increased flexibility, and more fun for users."

The STM32TS60's high EMI immunity makes it suitable for use in multi-function wireless products, such as cell phones, notebook PCs, netbooks, and mobile Internet devices. Moreover, its low power consumption helps to maximize operating times and recharge intervals, and is a direct benefit of the STM32's energy-saving design features and ARM® Cortex-M3 processor, conceived for power-sensitive embedded applications. In addition, very-low-power idle mode, with "wake-up on touch only" helps further extend mobile battery life.

The STM32TS60 is housed in a 7 by 7mm, 144-pin UFBGA package, and is now sampling to lead customers. Volume production is expected for Q2 2010.

About STMicroelectronics
STMicroelectronics is a global leader, serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, with innovative semiconductor solutions. ST aims to be the undisputed leader in multimedia convergence and power applications, leveraging its vast array of technologies, design expertise, and combination of intellectual property portfolio, strategic partnerships, and manufacturing strength. In 2008, the company's net revenues were $9.84 billion.

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