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Mobile World Congress Feature Articles

February 16, 2010

Cypress Launches Stylus Support for Capacitive Touchscreen Technology


Stylus accuracy enables users to enter complex Asian characters and to point to ever-smaller icons used in today’s mobile phone user interfaces. For this reason, Cypress Semiconductor announced highly accurate passive stylus support for capacitive touchscreen technology. With a 1-mm accurate tip, Cypress’s TrueTouch touchscreen solution is poised to transform the stylus market for the next generation of capacitive touchscreen phones, allowing users additional levels of accuracy and control for text entry, keyboard, handwriting recognition and other productive functions for mobile applications.

 
According to Dhwani Vyas, vice president of the User Interface Business Unit at Cypress, the unprecedented level of accuracy of the company’s stylus support will enable the ability to transform a broad range of markets.
 
“Watching the video, you can clearly see the system level performance our TrueTouch technology delivers. TrueTouch combines the best of both worlds: 1 mm stylus support accurate enough to draw detailed characters, such as in traditional Chinese, along with the multitouch capability, transparency, scratch-resistance and all-around durability of capacitive touchscreens. I’m proud of the technical achievement of our team, and think many potential customers will be excited about this new capability,” Vyas said.
 
The video includes footage of a TrueTouch touchscreen accurately tracking a signature written with just a standard No. 2 pencil. Cypress is demonstrating the new stylus capability for touchscreens, as well as peripheral and mass storage controllers and precision motion sensing technology for handsets, at the Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) in Barcelona from February 15-18 in Hall 1, Booth 1F53.
 
Stylus support has been traditionally limited to resistive touchscreens, which require the user to apply pressure on a multilayer screen. This type of screen is vulnerable to scratches and exhibits poor visibility in sunlight. As a result, many mobile device manufacturers have moved to capacitive touchscreen technology. One limitation to further adoption of capacitive touchscreens however has been the lack of stylus support or, at best, having to use a large 3- to 4-mm stylus designed for large icon selection. Cypress’s highly accurate passive stylus solution makes it even more compelling for end customers to adopt capacitive touchscreens.
 
Cypress’s TrueTouch family includes single-touch, multitouch gesture and multitouch all-point offerings. Cypress was the first company to introduce multitouch all-point functionality, which can track an unlimited number of touches. This capability enables designers to create new usage models for products such as mobile handsets, portable media players, GPS systems and other products, and has been in mass production since 2008. TrueTouch is the industry’s most flexible touchscreen architecture, which allows designers to implement differentiated features and make last-minute design iterations without board changes.
 
Cypress recently announced its next-generation high performance TMA300 multitouch all-point family. This controller provides best-in-class scan times for true multifinger touch and superior signal-to-noise ratio for the most demanding touchscreen applications.
 
The flexible TrueTouch solution allows customers to rapidly develop leading-edge solutions without having to buy turnkey modules. They have a choice of using touch sensors, glass or film, and LCDs from preferred partners, and can develop innovative mechanical designs ranging from flat to curved surfaces of varying thickness. In addition, TrueTouch devices offer Cypress’s legendary noise immunity with patented capacitive sensing technology that enables flawless operation in noisy RF and LCD environments.
 
Cypress is currently working with lead customers on stylus support for the TrueTouch touchscreen solution. A stylus support module is expected to be broadly available in the second quarter of 2010.
 
Recently. Nexus One phone selected the ClearPad 2000 capacitive touchscreen sensor from Synaptics (News - Alert). ClearPad is used in mobile phones, personal navigation devices, smart remote controls, digital still/video cameras, handheld gaming, and other electronic devices.

Hans Lewis is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire










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