MIPI Alliance introduces touch specifications for mobile designs

May 10, 2018

Piscataway, NJ. The MIPI Alliance, an international organization that develops interface specifications for mobile and mobile-influenced industries, has released MIPI Touch, a family of publicly available specifications that work together to enable faster, more flexible design and implementation of touch applications in smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. Any organization, including companies that are not currently members of MIPI Alliance, can access MIPI Touch to evaluate its use in touch integration plans.

“MIPI Touch is a systems-level solution that ties together several key MIPI Alliance specifications used for touch, sensor, and software integration and as such, it provides conveniences and new market opportunities for companies and developers across our membership,” said Joel Huloux, chairman of MIPI Alliance. “By opening access to nonmember organizations, we hope to further broaden adoption of MIPI Touch in the mobile ecosystem and spur innovation for touch applications.”

The touch market is significant, with about two billion touch panel modules expected to ship this year for a range of mobile and other device platforms, according to IHS Markit, a global business information provider. Integrating touch technologies has been time consuming and costly, however, due to the industry’s reliance on vendor-specific, proprietary touch interfaces and the incompatibility of software drivers across operating systems.

The MIPI Touch family of specifications alleviates these challenges with a standardized “write once” approach, where developers require only a single command set to write a single device driver that can be used across operating systems for touch implementations in smartphones, tablets, PCs, and automotive applications.

MIPI Touch is suitable for new designs that use the versatile MIPI I3C sensor interface specification for touch applications. Developers expected to use MIPI Touch include application processor companies and those that design or integrate touch sensors.

The family of specifications includes four components:

  • the MIPI Touch Command Set (MIPI TCS), a set of high-level commands that harmonize the writing of device drivers across operating systems;
  • the MIPI Touch Adaptation Layer for I3C (MIPI ALI3C), which translates the touch commands for use on the MIPI I3C protocol;
  • The MIPI I3C Host Controller Interface (MIPI I3C HCI), an optional specification for advanced systems that makes it possible to use touch commands and multiple data streams to add differentiating touch features to a design; and
  • the MIPI I3C v1.0 specification, which connects an application processor to a touch sensor.

MIPI Touch provides technical performance benefits. When all four specifications are used as a solution, it will yield the highest throughput and lowest latency for touch products. The specifications are versatile, offering developers design flexibilities that make touch very convenient to implement.

“Standardizing the way touch design and implementation are done will yield significant engineering and cost savings for companies,” said James Goel, vice chair of the MIPI Display Working Group. “The interoperability MIPI Touch provides will reduce development costs for application processor companies and touch sensor manufacturers while giving system developers opportunities to source components from multiple suppliers. And ultimately consumers will benefit from the superior performance MIPI Touch brings to their devices.”

The four specifications are available for download now. While membership is not required to access the specifications, companies are encouraged to join MIPI Alliance to realize all of the benefits that membership provides, including access to relevant patents and licenses, and opportunities to participate in specification development activities, interoperability workshops, and other events. Interested parties can plan to attend MIPI DevCon Seoul, October 19, 2018, for educational sessions on topics including MIPI I3C and MIPI Touch implementations.

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