Wacom Technology Corp. (Vancouver, WA) introduced a mixed-signal IC, the W8002 chip, which is intended specifically for Wacom's newest "ultra-slim" cordless and battery-free pen that uses only an inductor and capacitor in a tank circuit. The pen is used in conjunction with a sensor grid. The W8002 is aimed at smart phones and PDAs.
The chip is a follow-on to the eight-bit W8001. It collects three-dimensional information from the sensor grid and uses proprietary transform algorithms to digitize that data. The pen will invoke a cursor on the display before it touches the surface of the LCD, as soon as it enters the electromagnetic-field region of the sensor grid. When it touches the display, the width of the line it draws is directly related to pressure.
The sensor is embedded behind the display, and the screen is durable and can transmit 100% of luminous-backlight systems. The controller chip enables advanced functions such as application zooming and digital signature recognition. The chip is packaged in a 64-lead or 84-lead BGA, with the pinout depending on sensor board size and form factor. Wacom will offer the chip in volume in the fourth quarter, bundled with ultraslim pens and a range of custom and standard-size antenna grid PC boards.