Texas Instruments have rolled out a complete range of ultra-low power 16-bit MSP430 microcontroller devices that are designed on capacitive touch concept.
These embedded devices come along with hardware and free software solutions, which are simple and cost- effective solutions for the developers using microcontrollers to design capacitive-touch based applications. With the help of MSP430 capacitive touch library, the user can add the touch sensing ability to any MSP430 device. Buttons, wheels, sliders and proximity capacitive touch sensors can be designed easily using this open library. This library occupies only 1KB of code space and has minimum memory requirements. Additional peripherals can be added for specific touch sensing application, as required.
The MSP430 Value line consists of G2xx2 and G2xx3 devices, these come with in-built capacitive touch Input/Output components that can be interfaced with capacitive touch pads directly. The memory ranges that this line of devices offers are from 16KB Flash to 512 RAM. The efficiency of these devices is optimized to the level of power-touch sensitive buttons working at 1uA. A new line of MSP430F51x2 devices are in the queue for release, which come with Timer_D. This is a new high-resolution timer (upto 4 nanosecond), which facilitates touch sensing with high-precision.
The features that make the new MSP430 line stand out are simple usage, low-cost, booster pack and a plug in option for the MSP430 Value Line LaunchPad development tool. Using this tool one can achieve fast evaluation and develop touch sensing applications. These devices are supported by free, downloadable debuggers and compilers for the software such as Code Composer Studio IDE and IAR Embedded Workbench. In addition to the above, there is the MSP430F5529, which is an experimenter board that allows developers to experiment the use of touch buttons with a variety of peripherals and sensors.