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Teaching Advanced Touch Sensing Technologies Using ARM Cortex-M-based Microcontroller

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Microprocessor, Microcontrollers, and Embedded Systems Education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1463.1 - 26.1463.15



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Paper Authors


Nannan He Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Nannan He is an Assistant Professor of the ECET Department in Minnesota State University at Mankato. She received the Ph.D. in computer engineering from Virginia Tech. Her teaching and research interests are in safety-critical embedded software, real-time systems, and software verification.

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Han-Way Huang Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Teaching Advanced Touch Sensing Technologies Using ARM Cortex-M based MicrocontrollerAbstractModern touch sensing devices allow the rapid, accurate and direct interaction with the user,which conventional keyboard and mouse systems cannot. The touchscreen, an electronic visualdisplay controlled by touching the screen, is popular in many information appliances like tabletcomputers and smartphones. Semiconductor manufacturers have also recognized the trend ofusing touch device as a highly desirable user interface component and started to integrate thetouch-sensing technology into their products. To keep up with this industry technology change,we prepared a series of lecture and lab exercises on teaching touch sensing technologies for anadvanced level microprocessor course offered to engineering students.There are many touch sensing technologies. Among them, analog resistive, surface capacitive,projected capacitive, infrared grid, optical imaging, and surface acoustic wave are the mostimportant ones. Fundamental electronic principles underlying each of these two touchtechnologies were first introduced. Resistive touch and capacitive touch (i.e. surface andprojected) are introduced in detail. Then, comparisons among these technologies and theirapplications in real-world electronic devices are discussed in detail. Students were also taught toprogram touch sensing devices through lab exercises. The Atmel SAM 4S-EK2 board was themain development board employed for practicing touch device programming. Themicroprocessor employed on this board is the 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4. This board includes richtouch sensing devices, including four touch buttons and a touch slide implemented as capacitivetouch, and a resistive touch panel on a color LCD display. Atmel provides a royalty free softwarelibrary for developing touch applications in C. Students learned to utilize the library into theirapplications so as to provide touch sensing capability in their projects. Students have showngreat interests in this new topic and are capable of incorporating touch devices to improve thehuman machine interface of their senior design projects.This paper presents our experience of introducing latest touch sensing technologies especiallypractical touch device programming to a microcontroller course for senior undergraduates. Itprovides the necessary details for this teaching practice, including the enhanced course contents,outcomes and lecture organization and lab materials prepared for this teaching practice. Byutilizing software package and simulation tool provided by Atmel, students can build MCU-based embedded application projects which involve touch devices and test touching performancein a short time. Different from the previous work on teaching capacitive touch only using 8-bitArdunio board, this work makes use of ARM Cortex-M4 microprocessor to control complextouch sensing devices (i.e., touch slider and touch screen) and develop a complete embeddedapplication project such as the adaptive touch-based servo motor control.

He, N., & Huang, H. (2015, June), Teaching Advanced Touch Sensing Technologies Using ARM Cortex-M-based Microcontroller Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24800

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