Boréas Technologies has introduced the BOS1901, the lowest-power piezoelectric driver integrated circuit (IC) for high-definition (HD) haptic feedback in wearables and other battery-powered consumer devices.
Consumers desire more realistic touch interfaces in their battery-powered devices, including smartwatches, game controllers and smartphones. The challenge for device designers lies in balancing the performance requirements of such devices with the hefty power demands of haptic technologies.
Boréas' BOS1901 delivers 10X power savings over its nearest piezoelectric competitor as well as 4X to 20X power savings over other incumbent technologies (LRA, ERM). These dramatic power savings, combined with the BOS1901's tiny footprint, open HD haptic feedback to even the smallest battery-powered electronics.
"HD haptic feedback translates our powerful sense of touch to our digital devices, creating texture and conveying detailed experiential information unlike any other user interface," said Simon Chaput, founder and CEO, Boréas Technologies. "To propagate HD haptic feedback across a whole universe of devices, we need to reduce hardware footprint and power as we increase responsiveness and precision. Our first piezoelectric haptic driver, the BOS1901, ticks the boxes on all counts."
Displacing Legacy Haptic Technologies
Boreas' CapDrive™ technology platform is a proprietary scalable piezoelectric driver architecture on which Boréas' haptic driver ICs are based. CapDrive delivers the advantages of piezoelectric material to the user: greater energy efficiency, low heat dissipation and rapid response times, making CapDrive chips ideal for resource-constrained devices in which size, power and thermal management are essential.
Targeting a global market of haptic actuator and driver ICs — which BCC Research predicts will reach US$26.528B by 2022, with US$13.7B of that representing driver ICs — Boréas aims to tap the fastest-growing segment for haptic interface technologies: piezoelectric haptic components. According to BCC Research, piezoelectric haptic components are on track to outpace legacy architectures: eccentric rotating mass (ERM) motors and linear resonant actuators (LRAs), which are limited by higher power consumption, large size, and slower response times.
Unlike ERMs and LRAs, piezoelectric haptic components can be used for both output (haptic) and input (e.g., button) in a system, thus reducing complexity, size and cost in interactive devices.
As the first chip in the CapDrive family, the BOS1901 features:
- Lowest power consumption — reduces the frequency of battery recharging
- Tiny hardware footprint of 8 mm — makes it ideal for space-constrained mobile devices
- Low latency response — delivers start up time < 300 µs, providing faster response times for superior real-time haptic performance
- Low bill of material (BOM) cost — provides a solution that is cost-compatible with most applications
- Off-the-shelf compatibility — supports a wide range of piezoelectric haptic actuators, speeding design-to-manufacture of HD haptic feedback solutions
- Amplifies high-resolution haptic effects — supports third-party haptic-effect libraries, allowing designers to customize user experiences
- Wide supply voltage range: 3 to 5.5V — supports integration in most devices without any extra power-supply hardware, reducing BOM
- Unique differential output — drives one bipolar piezoelectric actuator or two unipolar piezoelectric actuators, reducing the number of drivers necessary for localized haptic applications, conserving precious board space
To speed design to production with the BOS1901, Boréas offers a plug-and-play development Kit, BOS1901-KIT, for interactive piezoelectric haptic feedback.