MCU offers easy HMI upgrade

Silicon Laboratories enters the human interface market with the QuickSense C8051F800 capacitive touch sense microcontroller (MCU), designed to add touch interfaces to products such as set-top boxes, residential light controls, thermostat controls, commercial point-of-sale (POS) interfaces, portable devices and small appliances. The F800 MCU family features a patent-pending capacitance-to-digital converter (CDC) that enables best-in-class touch sensing in end products. The high-resolution CDC, which features a 40 microsecond acquisition time combined with a 25 MIPS CPU, provides sophisticated and highly responsive touch sense functions to replace mechanical buttons, sliders and wheels. Advanced 16-bit resolution enables the CDC and firmware to compensate for changes in geometry and laminates that may occur between prototyping and production, making the F800 MCUs accurate but forgiving and improving end-product reliability. The CDC requires very little CPU overhead, allowing the MCU to perform other tasks and improving system efficiency.

Most electronic systems are being optimized to reduce power consumption, which is often a challenge when adding features like touch sensing. The F800 offers an innovative wake-on-touch capability, enabling the MCU to be placed in power-saving modes, yet wake quickly upon a touch sense event, ultimately saving overall system power.

The F800 touch sense MCU family is supported by the QuickSense Studio, a common development environment for all of the QuickSense devices including the F700 high-pin count touch sense MCUs and the Si1102/Si1120 proximity and ambient light sensors. The QuickSense Studio configuration wizard allows designers, using an intuitive software GUI, to select which functions they want implemented such as capacitive touch sense buttons, sliders and wheels, and then easily auto-generate the software to set up and calibrate these functions. Designers can also test their implementation and review a graphical display of the system performance.

‘Silicon Labs’ touch sense MCU family delivers accurate and fast performance along with a host of features that reduce system cost and improve reliability in space-constrained applications,’ said Mark Thompson, vice president and general manager of Silicon Laboratories. ‘When paired with our infrared sensors, our touch sense MCUs also enable smart motion sensing and deliver power savings, which translates into longer battery life and improved system efficiency. Supported by a common development environment, the QuickSense devices enable designers to quickly and reliably add advanced human interface features to their end products.’

Pricing and Availability
The QuickSense F800 touch sense MCUs are supported by a low-cost development kit, the C8051F800DK. Priced at $99.99 (USD), the kit includes everything required to immediately begin system design including the QuickSense Studio, IDE, target board, cables and power supply. Reference designs and evaluation boards are also available.

The F800 is available now in an SOIC16, QFN20 or QSOP24 package. Pricing begins at $1.56 (USD) in 10k quantities depending on pin out.