Synaptics Acquires Conexant to Enhance HMI

Aug 22, 2017

Synaptics Inc., maker of computer hardware like display controllers, touchscreen interfaces, biometric sensors and more, has acquired the chipset maker Conexant System for approximately $300,000 million plus 726,000 shares of stock. This massive acquisition has led many analysts to believe that Synaptics is planning something big for the future – and according to a statement from Conexant, they are correct.


In a statement about the acquisition, Conexant CEO Jan Johannessen said the acquisition will allow Conexant to develop applications for some of the world’s most advanced human machine interface (HMI) technologies.


We have spent the past few years sharpening Conexant’s focus on providing silicon and software solutions for voice-enabled devices, consumer and commercial imaging, and next-generation audio applications,” said Conexant CEO Jan Johannessen in a statement. “We believe that by joining Synaptics, we will further scale in the USB-C headphone market, while also enabling device makers to develop innovative applications for some of the industry’s most advanced human-machine-interface technologies, including voice.”


HMIs aren’t a new concept; they’ve been around for decades. The general definition of a HMI refers to an interface through which a human operator controls a machine. While a user interface typically involves multiple connected computers and devices, an HMI is typically limited to a single device.


Most industrial control systems feature both hardware and software, which are integrated together into a single platform. The HMI is the collection of these technologies that allows human workers to control the respective machine.


Different HMIs are designed to perform different tasks. Some of the more advanced HMIs have features such as data translation and storage, while other more basic HMIs consist of nothing more than a touchscreen interface attached to a machine.


There are many different factors that manufacturers must consider when designing an HMI, some of which include its level of responsiveness, familiarity, Ingress Protection (IP), backlighting, and overall reliability. Regardless of the application for which it will be used, these are critical factors that must be carefully considered.


So, what’s next for Synaptics now that it has acquired Conexant? Conexant currently boasts an impressive catalog of 480 plus patents. Not all of these are HMIs or HMI related. As revealed by the company’s CEO, though, Conexant plans to further enhance its HMI offerings with the help of this

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