OMRON Corporation (OMRON) has signed a joint development agreement (JDA) with Renesas Technology Corp. (Renesas) for capacitive touch sensor solutions. Renesas will integrate OMRON's touch sensor technology into its R8C Family 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) products and supply solutions for various fields, including household appliances and mobile devices. This integration gives enhanced system performance, reduced system power consumption, compact size and reduced overall cost.

Touch panels are increasingly being used in a wide variety of products, including household appliances, AV equipment, office equipment, game machines, mobile phones, and portable music players. OMRON is a world leader in touch sensor technology with its proprietary series capacitive division comparison system, which has an established track record in a broad range of markets. Renesas, for its part, has the world’s top market share in the MCU field. In particular, the R8C Family, to which OMRON’s touch sensor technology will be added, has a large share of the market for 16-bit MCUs in the consumer field due to the wide selection of packages and memory configurations available.

By creating a hardware version of OMRON’s proven touch sensor technology in the form of a touch detection circuit device and integrating it into Renesas’ R8C Family of MCU products as a single chip solution, customers will enjoy the following benefits:

Enhanced system performance:

Integrating the MCU, which performs system control, and the touch detection circuit device in a single chip eliminates the current need for a separate external chip to enable this functionality and increases noise tolerance. This results in improved touch sensor sensitivity and more accurate touch detection.

Reduced system power consumption:

Integration on a single chip helps reduce power consumption. Even in low-power mode, touch detection during low-frequency (4 MHz/5 MHz) operation is supported. This contributes significantly to extended battery life in battery-powered products such as game machines, PCs, and mobile phones.

Compact size and reduced overall cost:

Integration on a single chip eliminates the current need for a large number of external peripheral devices such as capacitors and resistors, enabling the use of a more compact printed wiring board. An entire system can be built from the MCU and some capacitors and resistors, reducing the total number of devices for lower overall cost and increased reliability.

The objectives of this joint development project are to achieve adoption of OMRON’s world-class touch sensor solutions throughout the world market and to establish Renesas’ MCU products in a dominant position in the touch sensor market.

Yasushi Akao, Renesas Technology board director and executive general manager of the MCU business group, said, I think that by fusing our MCU and analog peripheral circuit technology, two of Renesas’ strengths, with capacitive touch sensor technology from OMRON, we will be able to offer our customers MCUs with highly reliable touch sensor functionality. I am confident that our low-power solutions will increase adoption of our products in a wide range of new applications and help revitalize the market by enabling the creation of new products with distinctive designs.

Soichi Yukawa, OMRON senior managing officer and electronic components company president, remarked, In recent years, touch sensors have come to be used as the input method for many electronic products, but there have been problems regarding design flexibility and convenience. I am confident that the products that will result from this joint development project will combine sensor technology and MCU technology -the core competences of the two partners- to realize systems with a new level of ‘user friendliness’ and lead to wider adoption of touch interfaces.

Renesas Technology Corp. is a Japan based semiconductor system solutions providers for mobile, automotive and PC/AV (Audio Visual) markets and the supplier of microcontrollers.

OMRON Corporation is a Japan based provider of products and services to customers in various fields, including industrial automation, electronic components, social systems and healthcare.