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Atmel launches unlimited-touch controllers

Atmel launches unlimited-touch controllers

Videos from Atmel demonstrate the company's mXT224, the first generation maXTouch system to be made available.

Atmel is hoping to push the state of the touchscreen art forward with its latest range of controller chips, dubbed maXTouch.

As reported over on Electronista, the maXTouch technology offers some pretty convincing improvements over current controllers: an ultra-rapid 250Hz refresh rate, the option of creating capacitive - rather than resistive - touchscreens of more than 10" diagonals, and - perhaps most impressive of all - support for a unlimited number of simultaneous touch points.

As if all that wasn't enough, the company is claiming that touchscreens based around maXTouch will benefit from the lowest power draw of any capacitive touchscreen in its class.

The first version of the technology to be released, the mXT224, features 224 tracking nodes and the ability to refresh the screen in 4ms. Interestingly, the mXT224 - which is a single-chip solution - supports both the use of a finger in the traditional capacitive manner and the use of a stylus, something normally left to less accurate resistive-style touchscreens. Videos from the company demonstrate the technology for the curious.

It'll be a short while before end-user products based around maXTouch are available, of course: while the mXT224 is already available, you're looking at $4.75 (£2.86) per unit providing you order more than a million. Despite this high cost of entry, Atmel has claimed that a variety of customers are integrating the technology into smartphone handsets and netbooks along with "other home electronics" - whatever that covers.

With rival Synaptics having recently launched a 10-finger capacitive touchscreen - the ClearPad 3000 - it will be up to the industry as to whether the ability to track more fingers than are available on both hands is enough of a selling point for the maXTouch chips.

Can you think of a use for a multi-touch enabled 10"+ tablet capable of tracking an unlimited number of simultaneous inputs? Share your ideas over in the forums.

16 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
1ad7 14th September 2009, 14:25 Quote
Interactive group porn. Ill take 1 million units and a HD camcorder.
mi1ez 14th September 2009, 14:51 Quote
*rolls eyes*

Huge multiplayer games on glass "surface" style tabletop!
ano 14th September 2009, 15:02 Quote
Could bring a new meaning to the words tabletop RPGs, especially with enough points so everyone can be touching the screen at the same time. Still not sure about the 'refresh rate' of 4ms, I'm guessing that's its polling rate? Hopefully. I hate laggy touchscreens.
wuyanxu 14th September 2009, 15:10 Quote
saw this demoed in February in careers fare at my university. pretty cool, the buy demoed it just used 2 fingers, with an iphone in my pocket, i wasn't very impressed.

the company have a good reputation though, they are the ones invented the very easy to use AVR.
Zero_UK 14th September 2009, 15:20 Quote
Their name sounds more like a fusion of intel and AMD.
Von Lazuli 14th September 2009, 16:34 Quote
Well, at that price, I will take 10... Now where does one fine 999, 990 more takers?

And for that matter, capacitive LCDs and controllers?
HourBeforeDawn 14th September 2009, 17:12 Quote
alright dungeon and dragons just got a whole lot more interesting lol but ya multiperson games or like a monopoly on a table top could be cool so ya more then 10fingers would work and hey what about thos freaks I mean unique people out there with 12 fingers =p oh and dont forget about the people who are really really flexible and can use their toes too ^^
DarkLord7854 14th September 2009, 17:15 Quote
Apple tablet here we come
Malketh 14th September 2009, 18:03 Quote
Interestingly I'd love to get one at about 46" diagonal for my table project.
Krikkit 14th September 2009, 18:08 Quote
If you could get huge ones to work properly you could have them in public display areas. Imagine a huge information booth where dozens of people can access info at the same time, you could even drag stuff around on it.
Awoken 14th September 2009, 21:26 Quote
Looking at just one idea this is awesome (but there could be so many other real world applications): Real time D&D on a flat , flexible, amoled capacitive display that could be overlayed on any other flat surface would be awesome. Especially if you could pnp for peoples' character sheets, info boxes etc. Imagine being able to construct a dungeon from a selection of themed palettes where you can just drag from the palette straight into the world with your fingers, pick up handfulls of objects with a pinch and scatter them using one hand to scroll and the other to drop.
Awoken 14th September 2009, 21:26 Quote
Circular rooms with a single large wrap around interactive display that hundreds of people can touch at the same time.
TheoGeo 14th September 2009, 22:45 Quote
unlimited touch? does that mean it has a pixel perfect resolution? If so then you could get the shape of the touch and not just a point in the middle of the touch. It could recognise hand prints, footprints... body prints. That opens up a whole new world of possibilities.
xprodancer 15th September 2009, 01:53 Quote
this is rather interesting to me! would be great to use this on a huge table media centre also linked into a projector so you can watch a film on that while playing your games on the table or writing with an onsceen keyboard (homework for the kids) while you can keep an eye on them to make sure there actualy doin it!

also to the 1st comment on here (1ad7) how funny is that! would be good tho! cyber gang bang! LOL
funny S**T
B3CK 15th September 2009, 02:15 Quote
for a 10" version,, I would say, newest art craze, "Ant-Farm Art"
phinix 15th September 2009, 11:33 Quote
Heh, I worked for Atmel for couple of years. I wonder who they gonna sell it too now;)
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