UltraSense Systems Launches TouchPoint Q to Improve the Touch Experience for Automotive User Interfaces

Automotive-qualified piezoelectric strain sensor augments next-generation capacitive touch systems, including steering wheels, center consoles, and door panels

  • Brings instant robustness to capacitive touch systems with calibratable force thresholds
  • Immune to temperature sensitivity, mechanical and aging stresses, and signal drift from adhesive thermal expansion mismatch (compared to other force-sensing technologies)
  • Unique MEMS-based QuadForce architecture embeds 4-strain sensors into every component, enabling differential sensing and pattern recognition when using machine learning
  • Fully qualified to AEC Q100 Grade 2 (-40 to +105C)

San Jose, Calif, September 18, 2023 – UltraSense Systems today introduced UltraSense TouchPoint Q, the world’s first piezoelectric strain sensor designed to bring a better touch experience to automotive interfaces. Automotive tier-suppliers are integrating TouchPoint Q to augment their solid-state capacitive touch systems for center and overhead consoles, steering wheels, and door panels for an enhanced user experience.

How TouchPoint Q Improves Capacitive Touch Systems
Traditional capacitive touch systems have suffered from oversensitivity, causing frustrating false triggers, or from lack of sensitivity, creating a poor user experience. When earlier force-sensing technologies were added to capacitive touch systems (i.e. optical, parallel plate capacitance, or piezoresistive), results were sub-par: a non-premium feel, required visual movement of the surface, and/or expensive calibration steps across the manufacturing process. As a result, some auto makers released first-generation solid-surface capacitive touch systems to less-enthusiastic reviews.

TouchPoint Q now solves the challenges of previous capacitive touch systems, offering auto makers the ability to improve next-generation designs. According to Data Intelo, the global automotive touch sensor market is expected to grow at a 6.5% CAGR from 2022 to 2030. Forward-thinking automotive makers are now rapidly transforming car interfaces from mechanical to digital – just as phone makers did 15 years ago, migrating from mechanical buttons to flat screens.

“TouchPoint Q enables automotive tier-suppliers to deliver a new generation of more capable touch sensing functions,” said Daniel Goehl, UltraSense Systems Chief Business Officer. “TouchPoint Q can easily and cost-effectively augment already designed capacitive systems with a better force-sensing solution to improve the user experience and manufacturing scalability.”

Unique MEMS architecture
The patented UltraSense QuadForce architecture of TouchPoint Q uses a MEMS process to etch four microscopic strain sensors per chip into a piezoelectric film material applied to the surface of an ASIC processor wafer. The strain sensors, using the Piezoelectric Effect and as an inherent AC sensor (vs DC), detect surface deflection down to the 100-nanometer level – movement not detectable with the human eye.

TouchPoint Q Advantages
TouchPoint Q’s integrated MEMS strain sensors and mixed-signal ASIC processes a surface touch into a force. Placing one TouchPoint Q under a touch surface of one or more buttons has several advantages over previous strain-sensing technologies, including:

  1. Truly solid-state interface with no visual movement of the surface
  2. No residual stress from manufacturing assembly or aging over time
  3. Immunity to temperature sensitivities that can cause signal saturation
  4. Wider adhesive selection due to limited material thermal coefficient mismatch
  5. One-time system calibration in the manufacturing process
  6. Accurate touch and gesture detection using pattern recognition with machine learning

TouchPoint Q Availability
TouchPoint Q samples are available today to select customers and shipping in mass production this month to global automotive tier-suppliers. TouchPoint Q is available in a 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.6mm 24-pin QFN package.


About UltraSense Systems Inc.

UltraSense Systems elevates the automotive touch experience with its Human Machine Interface (HMI) Controllers and InPlane Sensing solutions, enabling multi-mode touch sensing, backlighting, haptics feedback to turn almost any surface into touch surface. UltraSense offers a more intuitive and modern experience for drivers; a more integrated, easier to manufacture and thinner solutions for tier-suppliers; and greater design options plus recyclability and sustainability benefits for automakers. For more information, visit www.ultrasensesys.com.

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