Semiconductor solutions for the Nintendo Switch

Wednesday, 15 March, 2017 | Supplied by: STMicroelectronics Pty Ltd


Semiconductor solutions from STMicroelectronics, including motion sensors, touch-screen controller IC, STM32 microcontrollers and NFC controller ICs, have been selected for the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo’s latest gaming device.

The gaming system consists of a console, two Joy-Con detachable controllers, a Joy-Con charging grip and a dock. Several ST products contribute to the device by enabling the intuitive user interface as well as through the NFC-connectivity function that enhances gameplay.

ST’s 6-axis inertial sensors are embedded in the main console and in the controllers of Nintendo Switch, responding to players’ motions to control the games. The inertial sensor comprises a 6-axis IMU (inertial measurement unit) in an ultrasmall footprint (2.5 x 3 x 0.6 mm). The sensor enables increased accuracy and resolution with low noise performance, and also operates on very little power to keep players playing.

The capacitive touch-screen controller IC from ST is mounted in the main console and features highly sensitive touch detection and low power consumption. Combining an analog front-end and a digital signal processor based on a microcontroller core, the controller IC enables multitouch and a fast report rate. The touch-screen controller IC supports many types of capacitive touch-panel materials and structures, and can be configured based on the particular touch sensitivity required by consumers.

Three STM32 32-bit microcontrollers offer the right balance of processing capability, low power consumption, embedded memory and package size. A high-performance STM32 MCU in a small package is embedded in the Joy-Con controller to manage the IR motion camera and the NFC function. In addition, a low-power STM32 MCU is embedded in the Joy-Con charging grip that attaches the controllers to meet battery-life constraints while performing signal-processing functions. Another STM32 MCU is embedded in the dock of the main console for power management functions.

The ST NFC controller IC in the Joy-Con controller and the Nintendo Switch Pro controller enable contactless communication using near-field communication technology with Nintendo’s amiibo accessories. The communication allows adding and customising characters in supported games, as well as a way to deliver bonus content in such games. ST’s low power-consumption NFC controller ICs embed NFC Forum-compliant firmware and software protocol stacks, and provide high contactless performance for a good user experience.

“Since Nintendo’s launch of Wii in 2006, ST has strengthened its close relationship with Nintendo by delivering advanced semiconductors while expanding our product portfolio to best fit new gaming applications,” said Marco Cassis, executive vice president and president of Asia Pacific Region, STMicroelectronics. “We are delighted to have contributed to Nintendo Switch, which is an innovative gaming device that offers a unique user experience through an exciting new approach, with our broad expertise in sensing, processing and connectivity.”

Image courtesy of iphonedigital under CC BY-SA 2.0

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