This blog article is the third and final of a series of three haptic technologies showdown. You can read the first two parts here:
Haptics are entering in a new era thanks to better performing technologies like piezo haptics. While they aren’t new by any means, piezo haptics are now performing better than ever thanks to new technology development in piezo driver integrated circuits (IC) performance. Like you will read, not all piezo driver performs the same.
The piezo driver role in haptics is to amplify the voltage from the power source and send waveforms to the piezo actuator to create movement and tactile feedback. Piezo haptics adoption rate has been limited due to high power consumption from available piezo driver integrated circuits. Things have changed since the release of our BOS1901 piezo driver IC with CapDriveTM Technology.
Let’s see how we position ourselves vs the competition and help you choose the best piezo haptic driver for your application.
Multiple Voltage Piezo Integrated Circuits Available for Your Application
The first thing you need to know to select the best piezo driver for your application is the required voltage from your piezo actuator. Generally speaking, bigger piezo actuators needs higher voltage to create haptic feedback. Your application or device probably have specific haptics needs with power and space constraints, so you need to select the best actuator that fill those requirements.
For example, a mobile device with his low weight, tight space and limited power source doesn’t need the strongest piezo actuator to create tactile feedback. The opposite is true for a car where space and power are not major constraints, but the haptic feedback needs to be strong enough to overcome the road turbulence.
Once you selected your piezo actuator, you’ll be able to start looking for a matching piezo haptic driver.
Lower Power Consumption for Better Battery Life
- Piezo - Competition
- Piezo - CapDriveTM
High power consumption has plagued piezo haptics for many years until the development of our CapDriveTM technology.
Since you need to amplify the voltage from the power source and generate waveforms for the piezo actuator, piezo drivers were miniaturized versions of amplifiers design used in the audio industry. While this design can generate high quality waveforms, they do consume a lot of power and generates a great amount of heat. Not a good match with mobile devices, one of the fastest growing market and one of the main applications for haptics.
Comes in our CapDriveTM Technology, a piezo haptic driver architecture that consumes up to 10 times less power than the competition. The technology was developed by Simon Chaput while he was attending Harvard University to complete his PhD in electrical engineering. You can learn more on CapDriveTM Technology here.
If you are looking to integrate piezo haptics in a power limited device, like a battery powered mobile device, you should look at our BOS1901 piezo driver.
Faster Response Time for Perfect Timing and Better Tactile Effects
Haptic feedback needs to have perfect timing to create the best feedback possible. Piezo haptics offer the advantage to create an infinity of different effects thanks to its very large frequency bandwidth. You need a high-performing piezo haptic driver to react as quickly as possible to create the best tactile feedback patterns.
Piezo actuators normally offer near instantaneous reaction time. For example, TDK PowerHapTM piezo actuators lineup offers reaction time of less than 2 milliseconds. The piezo driver can be a limiting factor if you want the fastest reaction time available. The BOS1901 piezo driver integrated circuit offers the fastest response time in the industry, under 6 milliseconds.
Smallest Footprint to Save Board Space
The available space in your device is something that will impact the choice of your haptic driver. Our driver has the smallest footprint of the industry. It only needs 7 discrete components to work and comes in a 4x4 mm QFN package.
The QFN package total solution will take up to 115 mm2. If you add the piezo actuator size, our solution is not only the smallest piezo solution, it’s the most compact haptic solution available on the market and it will save you some precious board space.
Talking of saving board space…
CapDriveTM Technology Exclusivity: Pressure Sensing to Lower BOM and Save Space
Low power consumption isn’t the only advantage of our CapDriveTM Technology. It’s also the only low-power piezo driver IC architecture that can both send waveforms to an actuator and sense pressure from the same actuator.
This means that if you need a haptic solution that triggers when pressure is applied, like replacing a mechanical button with haptics, you can eliminate the sensing hardware and rely solely on one piezo actuator coupled with one of our piezo drivers.
Clean Waveforms Output for High Definition Haptic Feedback
A Piezo actuator works a little bit like an audio speaker. You need the cleanest output possible coming out of the amplifier in order to have the clearest sound quality. To produce the best haptic feedback, you need the cleanest output from the piezo driver.
Noisy output produces unwanted vibration. It can therefore decrease the quality of the feedback you want the user to feel, he’ll also feel the undesired vibrations. You need a high-quality piezo driver for the best haptic effects.
Boréas Technologies’ Piezo IC CapDrive Technology vs Competition Piezo IC
|Features||Piezo - Competition||Piezo - CapDriveTM|
|Start-Up Time [ms]||1.5||0.3|
|Integrated Pressure Sensing||No||Yes|
*with 100g mass. Acceleration is related to feedback strength. Higher number = Stronger feedback
Experiment the Best Piezo Haptic Driver Integrated Circuit Today
The BOS1901 Development Kit is available to easily test the possibilities of piezo haptics. The Kit comes with two BOS1901 piezo haptic driver IC, a selection of piezo actuators and an easy GUI software to launch various tactile effects in a couple minutes.