STMicroelectronics and Fieldscale will announce a partnership on Monday to combine software with microcontrollers so designers can simulate touch-sensor products.
The combination of Fieldscale’s SENSE development platform for touch-sensor design and simulation with STM32 microcontrollers by ST is an industry first, according to the two companies.
The combination is intended to simplify the development process for touch-enabled user interfaces found in smart devices that run Arm Cortex 32-bit STM32 microcontrollers. Conventional development requires an iterative design approach to discover unwanted effects and ensure consistent touch sensing in various operating conditions. As a result, designers traditionally have to build multiple prototypes.
With STM32 combined with Fieldscale SENSE, development will be faster and more efficient, the companies claimed. Touch-sensitive controls are gaining popularity because they are more convenient and can enhance product reliability.
SENSE offers design, schematic capture and system-level simulation of capacitive touch sensors, and the latest version allows STM32 users to quickly design the touch sensor and PCB layout for virtual simulation.
SENSE is a cloud-based platform that uses algorithms to make accurate predictions of system performance. Users can re-simulate and fine-tune performance before deciding on the hardware to deploy. Greater assurance of the first prototypes means designers can lower costs and speed up time-to-market, the companies said.
SENSE is an online service that comes with a flexible pricing model, but the company didn’t offer more details. Fieldscale said it has no system performance limitations, an advantage over PC-based design software. The company said its simulations are accurate to within 2% of actual touch sensors.
Designers can create a complete 3D model of a sensor as a standard DXF or Gerber file and simulate touch-sensor performance for users that wear gloves or use a stylus. The simulation also allows a designer to add RF conducted noise to the system to evaluate the noise immunity of a system under design.
The simulation will also help designers understand the effects of couplings between traces and electrodes that can interfere with touch-sensor performance.
ST is based Geneva, and Fieldscale is based in Thessaloniki, Greece. ST is Europe’s largest chip maker.
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