ST partners with Fieldscale on touch-sensor simulation

STMicro industrial image
ST will join with simulation software provider Fieldscale to allow designers to create touch-enabled user interfaces for smart devices. (ST)

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.

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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.

The surface haptics market is dominated by TDK, Texas Instruments, Tanvas, Actronika and Immersion, according to Transparency Market Research.

RELATED: ST finishes 2019 with $9.5B in sales, 1% below year earlier

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