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Cypress Introduces PSoC(TM)-Based Capacitive Touch Sensor Solution | Cypress Semiconductor

Cypress Introduces PSoC(TM)-Based Capacitive Touch Sensor Solution

Last Updated: May 31, 2005

Cypress Introduces PSoC(TM)-Based Capacitive Touch Sensor Solution

Highly Integrated CapSense(TM) Technology Provides Stylish, Flexible Alternative to Buttons and Other Mechanical Controls, Reducing Cost, Component Count and Design Time

SAN JOSE, Calif., May 31, 2005 - Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE: CY) today introduced CapSense(TM) technology, a new capacitive touch sensor interface based on its award-winning Programmable System-on-Chip(TM) (PSoC(TM)) mixed-signal arrays. A single PSoC device can replace dozens of mechanical switches and controls with simple, touch-sensitive controls. CapSense-based "button" and slider controls are more reliable than their mechanical counterparts because they are not prone to the environmental wear-and-tear that affects exposed buttons and switches.

Cypress's CapSense solution offers system designers numerous advantages over capacitive touch sensor products built around modules and sub-assemblies, including increased flexibility, reduced board space and lower cost. Because of the unique PSoC architecture, designers can easily integrate multiple functions (e.g., LED drivers and LCD displays), in addition to touch sensing. The PSoC CapSense solution also delivers benefits such as easy serial communications using either I2C or SPI interfaces, the ability to implement both trackpad (x-y matrix) and linear slider applications with the same device, and the ability to make quick design changes using the flash-based PSoC architecture.

Capacitive sensing is fast becoming the solution of choice for front-panel display and media control applications. Increased durability, decreased bill of materials (BOM) and a clean, minimalist appearance make this elegant interface attractive to a wide range of designs. With CapSense technology, a finger on the interface forms an electrical connection with embedded sensors, which work with the PSoC device to translate data about the finger's position into various system control functions. Cell phone users can slide a finger along their screen to change the volume of a call, the brightness of the screen or the loudness of a ring tone without having to end the call and click through complicated menu structures. In notebook computers, 'touchpad' sensors have already replaced external mice for cursor movement. Applications abound in consumer, industrial, white goods, automotive and medical devices-in short, any area where durability, ease of use and price are major considerations.

"CapSense is a smaller, cleaner, more flexible solution to implement control functions in any sort of electronic device," said Rich Kapusta, PSoC marketing director for Cypress. "In portable consumer devices - particularly cell phones, PDAs, and notebook computers - CapSense provides an attractive interface and product differentiation that adds real value to the system. At the same time, CapSense designs are cheaper and easier to manufacture than ones using thumb switches and potentiometers. Both the manufacturer and consumer come out ahead."

CapSense is built around Cypress's CY8C21x34 family of PSoC devices. Cypress's PSoC mixed-signal arrays are programmable SOCs that integrate a microcontroller and the analog and digital components that typically surround it in an embedded system. A single PSoC device can integrate as many as 100 peripheral functions and a microcontroller, saving customers design time, board space, power consumption, and system costs. Future PSoC offerings will also support CapSense.

In addition to PSoC, Cypress provides designers with CapSense application notes (AN2233a and AN2277); source code; example designs; a Front-Panel Display Demonstration Kit (CY3220-FPD); a Slider Demonstration Kit (CY3220-Slider); design software and support.

Availability and Price
The CY8C21x34 comes with 8 Kb of flash for program storage; 512 bytes of SRAM for data storage; a maximum speed of 24 MHz; and is available in 16-pin SOIC, 32-pin MLF and 20 and 28-pin SSOP packages. The product is available now for $0.99 in production quantities. The Front Panel Display Demonstration Kit (CY3220-FPD) is available for $75 through the Cypress online store at The CapSense application notes (AN2233a and AN2277) are available at no charge in the "Design Resources >> Application Notes" section at

High-resolution photos of both CapSense and the Front Panel Display Demonstration Kit (CY3220-FPD) are available at

About the PSoC Family
PSoC devices are configurable mixed signal arrays that integrate a fast 8-bit microcontroller with many peripheral functions typically found in an embedded design." PSoC devices provide the advantages of an ASIC without the ASIC NRE or turn-around time. A single PSoC device can integrate as many as 100 peripheral functions with a microcontroller, saving customers design time, board space, power consumption. Customers can save from 5 cents to as much as $10 in system costs. Easy to use development tools enable designers to select configurable library elements to provide analog functions such as amplifiers, ADCs, DACs, filters and comparators and digital functions such as timers, counters, PWMs, SPI and UARTs.  The PSoC family's analog features include rail-to-rail inputs, programmable gain amplifiers and up to 14-bit ADCs with exceptionally low noise, input leakage and voltage offset.  PSoC devices include up to 32KB of Flash memory, 2KB of SRAM, an 8x8 multiplier with 32-bit accumulator, power and sleep monitoring circuits, and hardware I2C communications. 

All PSoC devices are dynamically reconfigurable, enabling designers to create new system functions on-the-fly. Designers can achieve more than 120 percent utilization of the die in many cases, by reconfiguring the same silicon for different functions at different times. In the automotive PSoC LIN bus reference design, the same digital blocks are reconfigured four times to support the different LIN communication modes; in doing so, these blocks consume less than 10 percent of PSoC hardware resources and less than 10 percent of the PSoC MCU cycles.

Software and Support
PSoC Designer(TM), the traditional software development environment for PSoC, is a full-featured, GUI-based design tool suite that enables the user to configure design-in silicon with simple point and click options. With PSoC Designer, users can code the MCU in either C or assembly language; and debug the design using sophisticated features such as event triggers and multiple break points, while single-stepping through code in C or assembly or a mix of the two.

Complementing PSoC Designer is the new CY3215-DK Professional Class Development Kit, which includes a tiny high-speed in-circuit USB 2.0, based emulator with a large trace buffer, and seamlessly integrates with PSoC Designer and the user's development board. The development kit includes everything necessary to complete a design with the PSoC family of ICs. The tools are designed for ease of use, to support all the advanced PSoC packages and to keep the cost of development to a minimum while providing all the features found in tools that cost $2,500 or more. The CY3215-DK is priced at $599 (suggested resale).

In March of this year, Cypress introduced PSoC Express(TM), the first embedded development tool that allows microcontroller-based design development without Assembly language or C programming.  By operating at a higher level of abstraction and removing required firmware development, PSoC Express enables designs to be created, simulated and programmed to targeted PSoC devices in hours or days instead of weeks or months. PSoC Express includes an application generation engine and includes an input/output device catalog and communication protocols like I2C and RS232, all of which are combined visually by the designer to build custom solutions. Both PSoC Express and PSoC Designer can be downloaded free of charge from the Cypress web site at

About Cypress
Cypress solutions are at the heart of any system that is built to perform: consumer, computation, data communications, automotive, industrial, and solar power." Leveraging a strong commitment to customer service and performance-based process and manufacturing expertise, Cypress's product portfolio includes a broad selection of wired and wireless USB devices, CMOS image sensors, timing solutions, network search engines, specialty memories, high-bandwidth synchronous and micropower memory products, optical solutions, and reconfigurable mixed-signal arrays. Cypress stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol CY. More information about the company is available online at

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Cypress and the Cypress logo are registered trademarks and CapSense, "Programmable System-on-Chip," PSoC, PSoC Designer and PSoC Express are trademarks of Cypress Semiconductor Corp. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.