NXP – LPC546xx and i.MX 6: See. Touch. Sense.


Human Machine Interface (HMI) is where people and technology meet. We all use HMIs to monitor and manage machine applications ranging from user-friendly consumer products, home appliances and thermostats, to increasingly secure and reliable automotive driver interfaces, building elevators and access panels, bank kiosks, gas pumps, manufacturing operator panels, and data access terminals. NXP Semiconductor’s extensive microcontrollers (MCUs), processors, sensors, tools and professional services enable cost-effective and forward-looking options for every HMI application.

Our expertise includes solutions for speech and voice recognition, video and graphics, touch and gesture control, vision and image analytics, and neural networks tools to enable deep machine learning in all these areas. Factors such as the evolution of industrial internet of things (IoT) and growing demand for smart automation solutions, and the need to efficiently monitor manufacturing plants are some of the factors driving the HMI market. An HMI improves productivity by providing a visual representation of a control system with real-time data acquisition. An HMI can also enable voice activated control of consumer and industrial devices.

Keeping up with such a fast-growing and ever-changing technology and meeting consumer expectations isn’t an easy feat for HMI design and development teams. Consumer expectations are high. Take a look at your smartphone. Impressive graphics, right? You have a powerful mobile computer that fits in your pocket. It’s a navigation system, audio/video player, and communication device that’s available to you when you need it. And we expect them to look great.

Scalable Performance

NXP processing platforms enable new ways for customers to interact with technology through voice, video and touch. We offer the broadest portfolio of Arm®-based MCUs and processors that can drive the smallest, most power-efficient HMI that can be worn on a finger, to a digital sign that wows the world in New York City’s Times Square. Within our microcontroller portfolio we provide a unified toolchain, MCUXpresso, with integrated drivers to ensure fast development times and smooth integration of audio and visual experience.

The LPC, Kinetis MCUs and the new i.MX RT (www.nxp.com/imxrt), based on Cortex®-M cores, deliver scale of performance from 20MHz to 600MHz, with options for integrated LCD up to 1024 x 768 and capacitive touch with TSI libraries, to simplify development.

The i.MX applications processors offer software scalable performance ranging from a single Arm Cortex®-A7 at 528MHz to four Arm Cortex®-A9 cores running up to 1.2GHz each. The next generation of i.MX will scale further up and down, and add ARMv8 technology in processes that are inherently more power efficient.

Most NXP MCU and processor HMI solutions include product options designed for use in harsh industrial environments, for always-on operation for up to 10 years, and with the product supply assurance of NXP’s product longevity program (www.nxp.com/productlongevity).

i.MX Applications Processors

NXP’s flagship HMI processor line, the i.MX Applications Processor, integrates a balanced set of graphics processing units with OpenCL computing and OpenVX vision extensions, powerful Arm cores with NEON vector processors, video encode and decode engines, 4K display controllers with High Dynamic Range (HDR), camera sensor inputs, advanced audio input and output, speech recognition and voice control solutions, and neural networks for machine vision, gesture recognition and natural language recognition.

Our expertise includes solutions for speech and voice recognition, video and graphics, touch and gesture control, vision and image analytics, and neural networks tools to enable deep machine learning in all these areas.

  • Video Encode and Decode. By 2018, IP video will represent 79% of all global traffic. 4K display and High Dynamic Range (HDR) bring higher video quality and lower power consumption as markets shift from traditional set-top box to over-the-top (OTT) IP-based video on demand. i.MX 6 application processors support a range of video encode and decode to deliver video on demand for a rich user experience (www.nxp.com/imx6).
  • Speech and Voice Control. 25-30% of ALL internet searches today are initiated by voice commands, and this number is growing rapidly. Many home appliances and building controls are adding voice or other smart controls.
    • NXP has partnered with Amazon, Technexion and several front-end DSP partners to provide reference hardware and software that are
      already certified for voice at the module level (www.nxp.com/amazon).
    • The Pico-Pi board, based on the i.MX 6UL and i.MX 7D, from Technexion is Googlecertified for Android Things designs. Enabling
      the Google Assistant on this platform can easily be achieved by downloading an application file.
    • In addition, an NXP partner – DSP Concepts – has developed software for the Arm Cortex®-A cores cores in i.MX processors, to replace the DSP hardware front-end features.
  • Machine Vision and Learning. Machines “see” and “hear” through multiple cameras, microphones and sensor inputs. Developers are migrating away from DSPs and ASICs to leverage Arm-based processors with GPUs. Software tools and reference designs enable advanced math processors (GPU, Arm NEON) for faster image processing.

NXP’s extensive i.MX portfolio enable cost-effective and forward-looking options for every HMI application. Ranging from the low cost i.MX 6ULL, to the mid-range i.MX 7Dual, to the high end i.MX 6QuadPlus/i.MX 6Dual Plus.

LPC Microcontrollers

Since the inception of LPC microcontrollers, over 10 years ago, NXP has continued to innovate around these Arm processors. Today the portfolio of more than 400 Arm-based powered MCUs is one of the broadest 32-bit Arm-based MCU portfolios: defined by exceptional ease of use, design flexibility, and advanced integration. The majority of the LPC microcontrollers incorporate an LCD interface, including our flagship product family the LPC546xx, and integration of capacitive touch within the LPC845 MCU family. The LPC546xx family of MCUs series MCUs are perfect for running emWIN-based embedded GUI solutions with a smartphone look and feel in HMI applications for factories, buildings, homes and infrastructure equipment.

LPC800 Series MCUs

Entry-Level, Low-Cost 8-Bit Alternative
Arm Cortex®-M0+ based portfolio to address the market’s migration from 8-bit architecture.

  • Offered at 8-bit MCU pricing
  • Improved power efficiency and portfolio scalability
  • Broad suite of software, solutions and tools
  • Capacitive touch interface with up to nine capacitive buttons, operates in power saving modes and measures proximity changes

LPC54000 Series MCUs
The LPC54000 MCU series addresses the market’s need for a scalable, mainstream Cortex-M4 based microcontroller portfolio.

  • Wide range of power and performance scalability
  • Unique security and protection from entry level to advanced feature integration
  • Rich ecosystem with broad suite of software and tools
  • Up to 1024 x 768 resolution
  • 24-bit LCD interface supports 24bpp (16M colors)
  • Palette table to display of up to 256 of 64K colors
  • Dedicated LCD DMA controller
  • Hardware cursor support

For Easy Prototyping and Design NXP Provides:

  • MCUXpresso IDE, SDK, and configuration tools
  • LPCXpresso54628 development board OM13098
  • LCD app notes and design recommendation (www.nxp.com/LPC546xx)
  • Support from: Segger, emWIN, TouchGFX and Embedded Wizard to develop GUI applications

Kinetis Microcontrollers

Kinetis Microcontrollers provide scalable MCUs based on Arm Cortex-M0+/M4F/M7 technology. One platform, the Kinetis E series, brings enhanced ESD/EMC performance ideal for frequently-touched HMI appliance and industrial applications.

This solution includes software that is designed to work simply and seamlessly with NXP’s capacitive touch sensing hardware available on Kinetis KE15Z MCUs. Enabling touch pads, slides and rotaries, provides a more intuitive and effective way for user interaction than traditional buttons.

Key Benefits of the NXP Touch Solution Include:

  • Robust EMC performance, noise immunity with IEC61000-4-6 standard certification with the 3V and 10V tests
  • Self-cap and mutual-cap modes supporting up to 6 x 6 matrix touch pads
  • Effective performance even with liquid substances such as water, oil, and steam
  • High sensitivity with a boost feature to use when the touch overlay on the user interface is thick (acrylic, glass)

For Easy Prototyping and Design, NXP Provides:

  • NXP Touch Library is supported in the MCUXpresso SDK
    • APIs for high-level touch applications, so the developer does not need to spend time on low level HW configuration
    • Advanced filtering and integrating detection (AFID)/Signal Adaptive Filtering Algorithm (SAFA) key detectors for robustness guarantee
    • Automatic touch IP registers configuration for robustness guarantee
    • GUI visibility to make debug and test easy
  • Freedom Development Platform: FRDM-KE15Z (www.nxp.com/FRDM-KE15Z)
  • Design guidelines and application notes

*Some features vary across packages

For more details, click here to read this month’s Design Note.