Atmel Corporation

Atmel Enables Superior Touchscreen Solutions With Introduction of New Family of maXTouch(TM) Products

    San Jose, Calififornia (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Offers single-chip integration, unlimited touch, industry's lowest  power, most accurate and fastest response with finger or stylus input

    Atmel(R) Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) announced today the production release of its new maXTouch(TM) family of capacitive touchscreen controller solutions, capable of supporting an unlimited number of unique simultaneous touches with a video-quality screen refresh rate of 250 Hz. Atmel's new maXTouch technology platform supports the development of touchscreens surpassing 10 inches with full zoom, rotate, handwriting and shape recognition functionality. In addition, this new touchscreen solution features Atmel's patented charge transfer technology which enhances the traditional mutual and self-capacitance solutions, now effectively tripling the industry's highest performance touchscreen solutions.

    Atmel's maXTouch solutions have been developed to provide uncompromising capacitive touch capability combined with the industry's lowest power consumption and unsurpassed configurability to exceed today's user interface requirements. The first device in the family, the mXT224, has 224 nodes that allow it to accurately report the positions of unlimited, simultaneous touches and it can completely redraw the screen every 4/1000 of a second (4 mS). The mXT224's large number of nodes and fast performance makes it the world's first touchscreen solution suitable for advanced touch screen functionality, such as rejection of unintended touches, stretch/pinch and rotate gestures, handwriting and shape recognition such as face detection on mobile phones, mobile Internet devices (MID) and netbook screens surpassing 10 inches.

    By integrating the entire capacitive sensing circuitry on-chip, these maXTouch products provide a fully integrated single-chip solution without the need for external components to support the capacitive sensing, minimizing the cost and PCB footprint requirements. Multiple mXT224 touchscreen solutions can be used to provide smaller interspatial distances between touches on larger screens. Products utilizing the advanced mXT224 touchscreen solution are currently progressing in design at several leading handset, netbook and other consumer product OEMs.

    "By 2013, worldwide demand for touch screen modules will exceed US$6.4 billion, making touch interfaces the fastest growing segment in the displays industry. Multi-touch solutions are delivering significant advantages across a broad range of applications, and Atmel appears to have a compelling product for a very hot market. We'll definitely be watching as they roll it out," said Joe Abelson, Vice President, Displays Research, iSuppli Corporation.

    The mXT224 is the first capacitive touchscreen solution able to support not just finger touch but also stylus, fingernails and gloves for drawing or signature capture and character recognition, thanks to its 80:1 signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and extremely fast refresh rate. A high SNR is critical for the accurate reporting of adjacent or weak signals, and allows for precise reporting in noisy environments such as products with noise coupled from radio transceivers, LCD displays and battery chargers. Solutions without a suitably high SNR consume more power and decrease their response time with extra filtering and processing in an attempt to extract a weak signal from a high noise environment. In contrast, the nearest competing off-the-shelf touchscreen solution has half as many nodes as the mXT224, a screen refresh rate of only 83 Hz (66% slower) and an SNR of only 25:1 (66% less). In addition to offering the best SNR rates in the market, maXTouch offers advanced noise suppression algorithms to provide end products with the ultimate immunity against coupled noise issues.

    Mutual Capacitance and Charge Transfer Technologies. By combining Atmel's patented Charge Transfer and XMEGA(TM) technologies, Atmel's engineering teams have produced an optimal and scalable architecture which enables smart processing of a capacitive touch image to accurately regenerate and report the user's interaction with the touchscreen. The unlimited number of touches possible with Atmel's maXTouch technology is the result of its mutual capacitive sensor design, combined with Atmel's Charge Transfer method of signal acquisition. Unlike self capacitance technologies that sense individual rows or columns leaving ambiguity in reported multi-touch positions, mutual capacitance sensors create a matrix of independent capacitive sensing nodes at the intersections of these rows and columns. Using Atmel's maXTouch technology, each of these nodes are independently scanned within the matrix accurately sensing the position of an unlimited number of touches and delivering smooth movement in any location of the screen.

    Processor Considerations. The processing efficiency provided by the XMEGA(TM) microcontroller CPU allows the chip to ignore unintentional activity such as facial touch when on a call with a mobile phone. This capability, combined with the ability to collect the charge image in near theoretical times, allows the maXTouch products to demonstrate extraordinary performance. The mXT224 integrates Atmel's single-cycle RISC AVR(R) core with 32 registers and two on-chip DSP engines that process the X and Y positions on the touchscreen. An event system and peripheral DMA controller off-load all inter-peripheral communications and data transfer operations from the CPU, freeing it up for post-processing of the sensor image. This architecture enables the simultaneous processing of 224 nodes at 250 Hz, while consuming less than 1.8mW.

    "Since we announced the maXTouch technology in May of this year, many of the world's largest touchscreen customers are moving rapidly to adopt maXTouch products and take full advantage of the technology feature set in their next generation products," said Peter Jones, Managing Director of Atmel's Microcontroller Business Unit. "maXTouch provides capabilities and features not available in existing capacitive and resistive touchscreen technologies and expands the universe of user interface design possibilities."

    Availability and Pricing

    The mXT224 product is the first in a family of capacitive sensing controller solutions that eliminate the need for external components to support the capacitive sensing thereby minimizing cost and reducing PCB footprint requirements. It is available now in a 5x5mm BGA package and is priced at US$4.75 in 1M quantity. Additional maXTouch touchscreen solutions will be introduced in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 2010.

    About Atmel

    Atmel is a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of microcontrollers, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and radio frequency (RF) components. Leveraging one of the industry's broadest intellectual property (IP) technology portfolios, Atmel is able to provide the electronics industry with complete system solutions focused on consumer, industrial, security, communications, computing and automotive markets.

    (c) 2009 Atmel Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Atmel(R), Atmel logo and combinations thereof, AVR(R) and others, are registered trademarks, maXTouch(TM), XMEGA(TM) and others are trademarks of Atmel Corporation or its subsidiaries. Other terms and product names may be trademarks of others.


    Atmel's maXTouch Touchscreen Technology information may be retrieved at: index.aspx?bdls=21067

      Press Contacts:
      Clive Over, Director of Corporate Marketing
      Tel: +1-408-436-4305, Email:

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Clive Over, Director of Corporate Marketing of Atmel Corporation,

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