Continental creates in-car 3D touch surface concept for CES 2018

Continental creates in-car 3D touch surface concept for CES 2018
Automotive manufacturing company Contintental has previewed an in-car 3D touchscreen system at CES 2018 in Las Vegas. The display provides haptic feedback when touched, allowing drivers to operate the display instinctively without having to take their eyes off the road.

“Our latest display solution combines three elements: design, safety and user experience. The 3D surface not only allows for exciting design, but it also ensures that drivers can operate the various functions without having to take their eyes off the road,” said Dr. Frank Rabe, head of the Instrumentation & Driver HMI business unit at Continental.

While conventional screens are ideal for the flexible display of digital information, their shortcomings quickly become apparent when it comes to user-friendliness and design possibilities for vehicle manufacturers. To address this, Continental developed a 3D surface for its new touchscreen. The 3D elements allow brand-specific individualisation of the high-quality plastic surface and, at the same time, finger guidance that users can actually feel.

“As human–machine interfaces become ever more complex, the combination of active, haptic feedback and passive feedback from the 3D surface ensures an outstanding user experience and significantly improves operational safety,” explained Rabe.

Drivers can use the touch-sensitive 3D elements on the sides of the display like sliders to set frequently used functions such as volume or temperature settings without having to navigate away from the displayed menu. In the centre of the display are specific, virtual buttons allowing blind operation of a range of applications, which change depending on the current menu. To prevent the driver from triggering any functions accidentally when interacting with the 3D elements, the touch force is measured (force sensing) before a command is executed.

In addition, haptic feedback tells drivers when they have reached the edge of a screen element as they pass their finger over the screen, which allows them to distinguish between different virtual buttons without having to look at the screen. Haptic feedback is provided in the form of a short and highly precise mechanical pulse that is transferred to the display surface; any mechanised movement of the display is completely invisible to the naked eye.

To optimise the contrast of the 3D Touch Surface Display, Continental has employed optically bonded, topographical elements that are up to 10mm high, homogeneously tinted and can be modified to fit any display size and shape.

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