Microchip offers maXTouch Knob on Display touch controller for vehicles

Disrupting traditional touchscreen displays, the maXTouch Knob on Display or KoD touch controller enables innovative human machine interface (HMI) designs with a combination of mechanical knobs and multi-touch displays, announced Microchip.

It is believed to be the first automotive-grade touchscreen controller family to natively support the detection and reporting of capacitive rotary encoders, as well as mechanical switches on top of a touch panel. Unlike traditional mechanical rotary encoders, the technology enables the knob to be mounted directly onto the display without an opening in the panel or any customisation of the touch pattern. This increases design flexibility and system cost savings, said Microchip.

The KoD technology eliminates the need for custom touch sensor patterns, which means that designers can implement a different knob count, shape and position depending on the final product. The customised configurations are adjustable without changing the embedded firmware of the maXTouch KoD touch controller, which makes the development cycle faster and more flexible, added the company.

The maXTouch KoD controller allows designers to exploit the comfort of a rotary encoder input device and combine it with a modern interior design using smart surfaces and multi-touch displays. 

As well as vehicles, the maXTouch KoD technology is suitable for building a sealed HMI module for home appliances as well as industrial applications. According to Microchip, using a knob on a display will also increase safety for the end user; a driver does not need to look at the display while driving to adjust the sound or air conditioning, for example.

“Modern user interfaces commonly use multi-touch displays, removing mechanical keys for cutting-edge designs. Yet, functions like temperature or audio volume remain best controlled though a rotary encoder,” said Clayton Pillion, vice president of the human machine interface business unit at Microchip Technology. 

There are two versions, the KD, which allows customers to a design partner and create their own knob using a reference design jointly developed with BNL Bearings. The design can be fully customised for specific applications. The second version is the MK developed by Panasonic Industry – the Microchip Panasonic Magic Knob or MPMK. This version can be mounted on standard touch sensor patterns, and also provides a level of customisation for rotation and push haptic feedback. There is also a selection of materials for the top cover. 

Microchip provides a suite of both hardware and software development tools. There is the ATEVK-MXT2912TDAT-A: 15.6 inch / ATEVK-MXT2113TDAT-A: 13.3 inch OGS touch panel kit which include a development board with USB bridge. There is also a capacitive rotary encoder knob reference design with 30 detents and push functionality. Software support is the maXTouch Studio integrated development environment (IDE) with dedicated KoD family plug-ins for knob design and parameter settings

The maXTouch Knob on Display (KoD) controller is available for purchase now.


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