editor's blog
Subscribe Now

Sensing the Squish

We’re used to touch being about locating one or more fingers or items on a surface. This is inherently a 2D process. Although much more richness is being explored for the long-term, one third dimension that seems closer in is pressure: how hard are we pushing down, and can we use that to, for instance, grab an object for dragging?

At the 2011 Touch Gesture Motion conference, one company that got a fair bit of attention was Flatfrog, who uses a light-based approach, with LEDs and sensors around the screen to triangulate positions. At the 2012 Touch Gesture Motion conference, when 2D seemed so 2011, pressure was a more frequent topic of conversation. But clearly a visual technology like Flatfrog’s wouldn’t be amenable to measuring pressure since there is nothing to sense the pressure.

Unless…

If you have a squishy object like a finger, then you can use what I’ll call the squish factor to infer pressure. This is what Flatfrog does: when a finger (for example) touches down, they normalize the width of the item, and then they track as that width widens due to the squishing of the finger (or whatever). Which means that this works with materials that squish. Metal? Not so much.

You might wonder how they can resolve such small movements using an array of LEDs that are millimeters apart. For a single LED and an array of sensors, for example, the resolution might indeed be insufficient. But because they have so many LEDs, the combined measurements from all of them allow them to resolve small micro-structures.

There is a cost to this, of course, in processing: it adds about 100 million instructions per second to the processing. “Ouch!” you say? Actually, it’s not that bad: their basic processing budget without pressure is about 2 billion instructions per second, so this is about a 5% adder.

More information at their website

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Oct 22, 2021
Voltus TM IC Power Integrity Solution is a power integrity and analysis signoff solution that is integrated with the full suite of design implementation and signoff tools of Cadence to deliver the... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community site...
Oct 21, 2021
We share AI chip design insights from AI Hardware Summit 2021, including wafer scale AI accelerator chips, high-bandwidth memory interfaces, and custom SoCs. The post 4 Futuristic Design Takeaways from the AI Hardware Summit 2021 appeared first on From Silicon To Software....
Oct 20, 2021
I've seen a lot of things in my time, but I don't think I was ready to see a robot that can walk, fly, ride a skateboard, and balance on a slackline....
Oct 4, 2021
The latest version of Intel® Quartus® Prime software version 21.3 has been released. It introduces many new intuitive features and improvements that make it easier to design with Intel® FPGAs, including the new Intel® Agilex'„¢ FPGAs. These new features and improvements...

featured video

What are V³Link SerDes?

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

V³Link ICs are ultra-low latency SerDes that aggregate video, clock, control and GPIO data into a single-wire bidirectional bridge between industry-standard interfaces. Vision-based designs can use V³Link devices to achieve higher resolution, extend cable reach up to 15 meters and reduce system size, weight and power. Learn about the basics of V³Link technology and explore typical applications for V³Link in this training video.

Click here for more information

featured paper

Is your application protected from glitches?

Sponsored by Maxim Integrated (now part of Analog Devices)

Medical, industrial, and consumer devices require reliable operation, free from startup glitches. With the glitch-free operation available in the MAX16162, Maxim’s nanoPower supervisor IC, designers now have the means to prevent system startup glitches.

Click to read more

featured chalk talk

Thermocouple Temperature Sensor Solution

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Microchip

When it comes to temperature monitoring and management, industrial applications can be extremely demanding. With temperatures that can range from 270 to 3000 C, consumer-grade temperature probes just don’t cut it. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton chats with Ezana Haile of Microchip technology about using thermocouples for temperature monitoring in industrial applications.

More information about Microchip Technology MCP9600, MCP96L00, & MCP96RL00 Thermocouple ICs