FAQ

What size diagonal min / max can TouchNetix supply?

TNx currently have sensor designs in the market ranging from <2″ to 24″ diagonal. The lower end of the size range is typically limited by usability based on finger size.

What sensor stack-ups / materials does TouchNetix use?

TouchNetix primarily uses dual side ITO/Glass and 2 layer ITO/PET designs for the highest performance sensors. We have also manufactured true single layer sensors (known as OGS / Touch-on-Lens) from both ITO and from Metal Mesh. Our foundry partners can manufacture using many different combinations of materials and stacks if there is a specific need on a project.

How thin can a sensor be?

TouchNetix designs use the thinnest possible stack-ups available to meet any application and given performance requirement. Sensor thicknesses typically range from OGS/touch-on-lens (zero thickness), ITO PET of 75 to 300 microns and dul side ITO / glass of 400 to 700 microns.

How narrow can edge margins be?

There is no simple answer to this question as it clearly depends on the size of the sensor, the process and the overall configuration but all of our processes use state-of-the-art metalisation process to maximise tracking density.

How thick can the glass front lens be?

Our ‘standard product’ sensors designed and tuned to work through 2mm up to 6mm thick glass lenses while still giving good SNR for the best EMC performance. Our touchscreens can work through thicker lenses but the SNR gradually degrades as the thickness increases.

Standard touchscreens also work through thinner lenses than 2mm with some compromise on linearity so we would recommend a custom touchscreen in this case which can be designed to work through thinner front lenses with excellent linearity.

Can I use a plastic front lens?

Provided the materials are compatible (for example a glass sensor and a plastic lens are difficult to work with), it is possible to use a plastic front lens although it is important to remember that the dielectric constant of plastic is significantly lower than that of glass and so a good rule of thumb for the equivalent thickness of plastic vs glass is that plastic can be 50% of the thickness of glass for equivalent touch delta / SNR performance.

How long has TouchNetix been working on capacitive touchscreens?

The leadership team of TouchNetix have been involved in the capacitive touchscreen business since 2004. Over the years they have worked on hundreds of touchscreen design-ins in the most diverse of projects. The four founders of TouchNetix were the senior management team of the Touch Products group at Atmel Corp. which acquired Quantum Research Group in 2008. TouchNetix was founded in 2010 to address medium and low volume high performance touchscreen markets.

Can TouchNetix sensors meet industrial / automotive environmental requirements?

We have worked hard to make our sensors as environmentally tolerant as they can possibly be by developing a thorough understanding of the potential failure mechanisms and then designing and manufacturing them from the ground-up and finally by verifying their longevity through environmental testing. We are continually improving our knowledge and processes in this area.

Can TouchNetix sensors meet industrial /automotive EMC requirements?

Full testing can only be performed on fully assemble end products: TouchNetix designs have been demonstrated to meet EN61000 4-6 immunity standards in industrial control products, and ISO 11452 Automotive (road vehicles) products.

What types of lens materials are available?

Most of our front lenses are made from high quality glass. In some cases this glass is chemically strengthened or has a specific surface finish such as anti-glare (AG) or anti-fingerprint (AF).

We can also specify proprietary front lens glasses such as Gorilla(TM) glass for Corning(TM).

Can TouchNetix touchscreens work with gloves?

Yes, through a combination of proprietary pattern design, the correct choice of controller IC and careful tuning, TouchNetix can support most glove types, including thick industrial gloves as shown. See our video of one of our touchscreens working with a range of glove types and even concurrently with a broadband noise source to demonstrate that gloves can be used without compromising performance.Industrial Gloves.

Can TouchNetix touchscreens work with moisture or water on the surface?

Yes, a combination of stack-up, pattern design, controller IC choice and tuning can minimise the effects of moisture or water on the lens surface. Many of the more recent controller IC’s have a combination Self / Mutual capacitance measurement methodology which significantly improves water tolerance if the system is designed and tuned correctly.

Can TouchNetix touchscreens support stylus?

TouchNetix has considerable experience in developing touchscreens which can uses a small (1-2mm tip) conductive passive stylus while maintaining good linearity, response rate and noise performance.

TouchNetix is also developing an experience base with active stylus which requires proprietary third party hardware to function.

Which driver IC’s does TouchNetix use?

There are many driver IC vendors on the market each with their strengths and weaknesses. TNx will always chose the best suited controller for any particular project requirement and can be guided by the customer if they have a preference.

Is TouchNetix an ISO9001 supplier?

TouchNetix is proud to have achieved ISO9001 certification from BSI in 2014. All of our sensor and IC partners are also all at least ISO9001 certified.

Can TouchNetix provide evaluation software & tools?

TouchNetix provides its proprietary TouchHub tools which run on a PC for evaluation of touchscreens. These are provided free of charge to our customers along with appropriate interface electronics hardware.

Can TouchNetix provide Quality Control screening & test tools?

TouchNetix provides the necessary Quality Control hardware and software to ensure all of our touchscreens can be properly tested either at the manufacturing facility or at the customers facility.

Do TouchNetix support passive and active tail sensor designs?

Yes, TouchNetix can support either approach for custom products to meet customers design requirements and preferences. Luminance series standard products are passive tail with a separate control board and Brilliance series products are active tail.

Where are TouchNetix products manufactured?

TouchNetix has a number of direct factory partnerships in China, Korea and in the UK. Each factory has a unique product manufacturing base and capability which allows us to address the broadest range of customer requirements.

Can I buy just a sensor or do I have to buy a full module?

TouchNetix standard or custom products can be supplied as a stand-alone sensor or as a complete assembly laminated to the front lens. We have many product integration capabilities including full direct bonding of the display to the sensor module so please dicsuss your needs with us.

What materials other than ITO do you use for the sensor material?

TouchNetix has been evaluating alternative transparent conductive materials including metal mesh and silver nanowire and is planning to implement these in future generations of sensor design. These materials are already included in our design tools.

How long does it take to go from concept to first prototypes?

Our standard time for a fully custom product is typically 12 weeks.

What industry sectors is TouchNetix active in?

TocuhNetix can potentially address any market segment although our primary focus is in Industrial, Medical, Home Appliance, Aerospace and Specialist Commercial and Consumer products.

How much support will I get for my project?

TouchNetix philosophy is to fully support our customers with the required tools and communication to take the project from from concept to manufacture. You would normally expect to have direct communication with our highly knowledgeable engineers. As we are experts in our field, we will never need to refer you to third parties such as the driver IC vendor for support.

What is the aXiom chip?

The aXiom chip is a new capacitive touchscreen controller IC which has specifically been developed for non-consumer application such as Industrial, Medical, Marine, Aerospace and Automotive markets and which outperforms all other available touchscreen controllers in those markets.

What makes the chip different from other touchscreen driver IC’s?

The aXiom chip has been designed specifically to address non-consumer markets where the design-in challenges and over-life requirements are much more rigorous. The chip uses a bespoke narrow-band front-end measurement to provide the highest possible integrity of signal capture and then post processes the signal through a custom state of the art advanced DSP engine. The data output from this engine is processed with a high-speed microcontroller core to provide 80dB plus of SNR and which delivers a rich feature set to make the design-in process easy.

What is the cost of the aXiom chip?

The aXiom chip is a highly cost-effective solution for non-consumer applications where flawless performance is key and where the overall cost of ownership of the final solution is taken into consideration. The chip is not generally considered suitable for consumer applications.

Are there different versions of the aXiom chip?

The first aXiom chip which supports will be in full production and qualified to automotive standards in the second half of 2019 – this chip will support touchscreens up to 22” diagonal. A second chip in the family will be released in a smaller package and will support touchscreens up to 14” diagonal.  Larger and smaller screens will be supported with new chips to be released during 2020.

How can I use the aXiom chip in my next project?

Talk to our highly knowledgeable sales team – you can make contact on sales@touchnetix.com who will lead you through our evaluation process and will guide you towards the best possible solution for your project in conjunction with our world leading engineering and support teams.

What are some key architectural features of the aXiom chip?

There are many innovations in the aXiom chip, all of which have been driven by the experience which TouchNetix has gained in challenging projects over the past several years. The signal capture engine in the analogue domain is a completely new bespoke narrowband engine which is almost immune to electrical noise. The excitation is low voltage and neutrally biased to eliminate the sensor damage seen in current IC’s. The captured signal is processed through a bespoke custom designed DSP engine which provides blisteringly fast data rates and the resulting digital stream is processed using a state of the art micro core. The chip also includes a fully integrated force sensing engine which concurrently captures force and touch data. The inclusion of real-time autonomous haptic drive technology with user definable zones rounds out the main features.

Does the aXiom chip support force sensing?

The aXiom chip has four definitive channels of force sensing technology included in the fundamental design of the chip, rather than as an afterthought. Coupled with TouchNetix proprietary capacitance based force sensing, this allows deflections of only a few microns of displacement to be measured and classified.

What kind of microcontroller core does the aXiom chip use?

The aXiom chip integrates an advanced modern microcontroller which provides a small, fast, and low-power processing capability. The chip uses a real time operating system (RTOS) for flexibility and ease of customisation.

What screen sizes does the aXiom chip support?

The maximum screen size which will be supported by the first aXiom chips which will be available in production during 2019 is in the range 10” to 22” diagonal. As always with capacitive touchscreens the specification required for ‘pinch separation’ is key in defining the maximum screen size which can be driven. The architecture of the chip is designed to allow arbitrary definition of transmitters and receivers allowing any aspect ratio of screen to be driven.

Is there a datasheet for the aXiom chip?

There is a shortform datasheet which is generally available and a complete datasheet available under NDA for those considering the pursuit of a project.

What can I expect for emissions from the aXiom chip?

The aXiom chip has been designed to have intrinsically low emissions through a combination of a sinusoidal drive (square wave drives are intrinsically much noisier) and a low drive voltage of 2.5V pk-pk with an overall neutral bias. It is CISPR25 Level 3 Compliant.

What level of qualification will the aXiom chip have?

The aXiom chips will be fully qualified to meet AEC-Q100 Grade 2.

What packages does the aXiom chip come in?

The first two packages which will be available for the aXiom chip will be the QFP144 and the QFP128. Further package types will be considered according to demand.

Can I get custom versions of the aXiom chip?

The aXiom chip has been designed to allow for some level of system designer customisation although we believe the feature set and configurability of the chip will only rarely require such customisation.

How many fingers does the aXiom chip report?

Currently, the maximum number of individual touch points which can be detected, tracked and classified in the standard version of the chip is 10. There is no theoretical limit to the number of touch points although more points need additional processing time and reduce the report rate.

What thickness of front lens can the aXiom chip work through?

We have demonstrated reliable behaviour through up to 15mm of acrylic – this is due to the ultra high SNR of the aXiom chip.

Can the chip work with varying thickness of front panel?

Yes, the aXiom chip is designed so that the system can tolerate wide variations in thickness of the front panel as the gain of each node is individually addressable.

What silicon foundry is the aXiom chip fabricated in?

The aXiom IC is manufactured by a mainstream automotive qualified foundry partner.

Does the aXiom chip support haptics?

One of the key features our customers have asked for is the support of advanced haptics which can be triggered independently from the system host to eliminate latency. The aXiom chip allows the system designer to fully customise the haptic effects which can be driven across a range of definable zones across the surface.

How well does the aXiom chip deal with electrical noise?

Electrical noise is one of the key areas where the aXiom chip excels. During the concept and design phase of the IC, the most difficult possible EMC environments were considered and addressed – the chip is close to noise immune through a combination of ultra narrow band acquisition combined with sophisticated multi-baseline instantaneous no-frame-loss frequency hopping.

What is the production date for the first aXiom chip?

The first aXiom chips are available for sampling to selected customers in Q4/18 and will be fully qualified and in production in Q4/19.

Can you name some customers who are using the aXiom chip?

A number of OEM’s are already designing in the aXiom chip but until these products are in production, we will not be able to reveal the names of any customers.

Can the aXiom chip support proximity/hover/3D touch?

The aXiom chip is designed to support proximity/hover/3D touch to a level which is not currently available. This is driven by the ultra high SNR which we can achieve and is not limited in the same way that self-cap systems currently experience. Edge effects are minimised through the use of trans-cap to make the measurement.

Which communication interfaces does aXiom support?

For communication with a host, both SPI and I2C slave interfaces are provided. An I2C master interface is also provided and can be used for instance to send commands to a haptic actuator

Do the aXiom devices support General purpose I/O pins?

Yes, for the QFP128 and QFP144 pin devices, 4-6 GPIOs are supported (depending on which features of the chip are being used)

Which development tools will be offered for the aXiom devices and when will they be available?

TouchHub for Windows supports full tuning and observation facilities for touch performance.  Much of the tuning is auto generated from high level requirements based on sensor and facilities etc. The development tools are available now.

Which host side drivers are supported for the aXiom chip?

For windows, the chip is connected via USB using a separate USB HID to I2C/SPI bridge which TouchNetix can provide.  For Linux, a low level kernel driver is available.

Can I use gloves on touchscreens which use the aXiom chip?

Being able to use gloves from almost any category (industrial, medical, driving) is an important feature of the aXiom chip. Due to the high SNR and the use of sophisticated algorithms, designs will support even the thickest of gloves such as firefighter or motorcycle gloves.

Will touchscreens built with the aXiom chip work well with water or other liquids on the surface?

Touchscreens built using the aXiom chip can be tuned to work well with water and most other liquids on the surface. TouchNetix extensive experience in designing products for industrial, medical and outdoor applications allows us to achieve good performance where other products on the market fail to meet the requirements.

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