Freescale has been pioneering work in the semiconductor industry for more than 50 years now. Once a division of Motorola, Freescale delivered the world's first high-powered germanium transistor used mostly for car radios. That started their streak of innovation for years to come.
Investing more than $780 million a year in research and development, Freescale has components in electronics we use nearly every day and all over the world. Their newest work improves upon their Xtrinsic touch-sensing software, allowing touchscreens to be able to work through drops or films of water, aka "electrical noise."
The TWRPI Plug-In Starter Kit comes with two touch panels for testing of the Xtrinsic 3.0 software algorithms for touch interfaces. Configurable rotary, slider, and keypad decoders, and pre-exiiting application code and HMI functionality, comes free.
The Xtrinsic 3.0 software builds on the highly successful TSS library, a proprietary set of common human-machine interfaces, for their touch-sensing modules. Along with the new water tolerance feature, it also includes noise detection, and an algorithm to help reduce false touches.
In order to accomplish such sensitive touch detection, the software combines extremely high sensitivity with a very low capacitance measurement resolution. In addition, users of the software are offered the choice of defining sensitivity themselves, or letting the auto-sensitivity calibration do it for them based upon noise level analysis.
For some real-world comparison, put a little water on any smartphone screen and try to run an app -- see how random and chaotic the device will act. Xtrinsic has exceeded through software elegance, not simple brute-force coding.
The downside is that this software update is only for Freescale devices and screens.
Since the new software is just an update, it can easily be integrated into currently existing systems without increasing the system's cost. Furthermore, it also works with Freescale's touch-sensing input module, which can be found in many hardware platforms.
The software was designed for medical, industrial, and auto infotainment applications to upgrade interfaces from mechanical to touch activated. The tech is being geared toward the industrial market, where simplicity and resilience to the environment is key.
The second some water or oil lands on a CNC controller screen, accidents will immediately follow. It's about time someone addressed this issue. However, if we can now waterproof the hardware under those touchscreens and devices, can we also get similar software features added to smartphones and touch tablets? Freescale could make a fortune licensing out their "touch-detection algorithm."