Mixed-signal chips combine analog functions, like sensing a finger's presence, with digital functions like issuing the commands that match what the finger is touching. This chip house has combined touch sensitive sensors with the digital microcontrollers to offer a comprehensive solution to consumer electronics makers. Look for Silicon Labs chips in new touch-sensitive interfaces by 2010. R.C.J.
Silicon Laboratories Inc. has launched a mixed-signal silicon and software initiative for developing human interfaces for touch-, proximity- and ambient light-sensitive devices. Called QuickSense, the portfolio includes specialized microcontrollers along with necessary sensors, and will be supported by a common software development environment. Among the applications are personal electronics, small appliances, light and thermostat controls, home security panels, set-top boxes and displays. The QuickSense portfolio includes the F800 family of capacitive touch-sensitive microcontrollers using what the company calls capacitance-to-digital converters. The converters eliminate the need for mechanical buttons and sliders. Silicon Labs also said it plans to extend QuickSense with new touch-screen microcontrollers that support multi-touch interfaces, such as pinching to zoom.