Supplied in a compact form factor with dimensions of 55.4 mm x 68.6 mm (in harmony with the established format of the Arduino Duemilanove and Uno boards), and incorporating a STMicroelectronics STMPE821 8-channel general purpose input/output (GPIO) capacitive touch key controller IC, the shield has 8 touch keys which employ a capacitive sensing technology, responding to physical input stimulus from the user. It also has a set of 4 push buttons and 5 GPIO-controlled LED indicators.
The touch keys are capable of passing input data to the Vinculum-II (VNC2) dual port USB host/device controller IC on the Vinco module via an I2C bus, where it can be processed by the IC’s integrated 16-bit microcontroller core. Access to the Vinco pulse width modulation (PWM) interface is also available on the header pins. The shield requires a 5V supply, which can be drawn from an external supply or through the Vinco motherboard connections.
“The Vinco platform captures the spirit of Arduino open-source model. It furnishes engineers with a unique, easy-to-use environment where they can easily create system designs that include various input methods as well as product connectivity,” commented Dave Sroka, Global Product Director at FTDI, “The new Touch Key shield demonstrates the Vinco platform’s ability to utilise the Android Open Accessory initiative, so that devices using the Android operating system, such as tablet PCs, can control items of external hardware through a human machine interface (HMI), over USB.”
To support the Vinco platform and its expanding range of shields, FTDI offers free software libraries, drivers and source code, allowing engineers a high level of design flexibility. A comprehensive Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which includes a code editor, ‘C’ compiler, assembler and debugger, is also available to download for free from the company’s website. Further shield introductions will be announced in the near future.