Elegant and Robust Capacitive Touch Interfaces - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Elegant and Robust Capacitive Touch Interfaces

Author: clem57

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: K82F Freedom Board using flex I/O.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Time to install software on Linux, Windows 7, and Windows 10 systems.

Detailed Review:

Elegant and Robust Capacitive Touch Interfaces



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First Impressions

Ordering CapTIvate MCU Kit


In the past the Road test items were sent by Element 14 staff after either getting them from vendor or having them in stock. This method resulted in delays and more work for reshipping the Road test items. This I believe was better by sending information to order from TI directly. The result is direct shipping and resulted in getting the order under a week. In addition, I was able to track shipping information. Kudos to both TI and for this new method. I hope more vendors can participate this way. The only requirement is having a account on TI which I had for other reasons. If you think about it, this really opens the doors to blogs which are great source of information and software downloads which may be needed.


I want to take this time to thank TI and Element 14 for giving me the chance to road test the board. Overall impressions are very good from start to finish. The packing of the contents was first class with a box and formed fit grey/black material holding the 6 parts in two layers.

Package Contents

MSP CapTIvate MCU Development Kit



Programming Board


Top photo on right bottom with one set of double pins. This part is needed ony when changing the programming using the ide. It also willl communcate with either a PC or Mac computer.It uses a micro connector USB to power all parts.


Microcontroller Board


Top photo right top piece. This is the FRAM MCU MSP430FR2633. The low power processor runs at 16 MHz and has a pre-loaded ROM providing special library routines and API's for using CapTIvate I/O. Minimum Vcc is 1.8 and maximum Vcc is 3.6


Isolation Board

This is in bottom photo on right side. It is used for advance stuff and I did not need to use for this project. I hope to explore more in later blogs.


Phone Panel


Top panel on left side.This one uses most of the pins with a 12 digit pad that we would see on a typical phone.


Button/Slider/Wheel/Proximity Panel


Bottom photo panel on top left panel. This is he main demo board. It uses all the pins and can do proximity out of the box before any software is installed. This is because they pre-loaded the MCU for this panel. Also a double set of side pins are on one side of the panel.

High Sensitivity Proximity Panel


Bottom photo on left lower side panel. This one has 3 zones that sense the movement of the hand as well as direction. It provides a sample of the versatility of the interface and potential uses.I believe they have written software that simplifies the programming.




Piano on a Piece of Paper


Have you ever played piano on a piece of paper? I plan on placing a template with piano keys on a capacitive metal underneath, The connect it to the TI platform using a high meg ohm resistor. Now you can play instantly! The instruments can vary with a switch.

Possible  musical instruments could be: Piano, music box, organ, brass, phone, voice by bringing recorded sounds together.


Allow the template be setup for beginners or more advanced. Here is a sample:







Allow change between octaves with a tap of up/down keys.

Comparing this capacitance model to another built on other brand named processor.



  1. This kit from TI is a professional job with the panels having rubber feet. The double pins are nice but probably non standard. So expect some troubles if you wish to go on the cheap.

  2. Cost wise I feel you get what you pay for. Just the documentation makes this worth the cost.

  3. I will add more blogs in the future expanding on the current panel. I feel designing my own will be great learning and fun too.

  4. Thanks TI for a kit that was well built. Also thanks to Element 14 for sponsoring the Road test with TI.