Goodbye to Sticky Knobs and Switches

Don't you just love pulling the knobs off your stove, cleaning out the unidentifiable gunk coalesced around them, and then struggling to get the darn things back on right side up?

If you could live without this annoying chore, say hello to Quantum Research Group. The company's QProx Glass-Touch capacitance sensor technology is helping designers in many industries—appliance, automotive, computer, industrial, security, and biomedical—create simple, streamlined touch controls that atttach with an adhesive to glass, acrylic, ceramic, plastic, or just about any nonconducting surface.

By using the charge transfer principle, these clever devices deliver touch keypad solutions that are not only cheaper than membrane keypads and mechanical switches but also more robust (you won't accidentally poke your pencil through the buttons).

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The company offers two flavors of QProx. With the QMatrix sensor IC, designers can tool sleek interfaces with 16–64 touch-control buttons of various shapes and sizes that work through 20 mm of glass. The QTouch offers 1–10 buttons.

QProx technology uses three passive components per sensing channel and three types of communications: scanning port, SPI, and UART. Each channel operates independently and can be tuned for a unique sensitivity by a simple change in the set-up values (either in an EEPROM or via the SPI or UART serial interface).

Spread-spectrum burst-modulation technology and Fast DI (detect integration) manage noise. The company's proprietary AKS (Adjacent Key Suppression) technology suppresses touch from more weakly responding keys.

Besides its usefulness in our food-besmirched kitchens, QProx offers nifty, easily cleanable touch solutions for workers in intensive care units, clean rooms, and manufacturing facilities—and for anyone else who prefers not to stick to their switches.

Contact Sagnik Murthy, Quantum Research Group, Hamble, U.K.; in the U.S. call 412-391-7367 or visit

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