supplier Continental is working on intelligent infrared technology for future
control designs in affordable cars, according to a press release issued by the
company. Used in ever-more electronic entertainment devices, multi-touch
controls will also be enhancing modern display and control systems in the
especially price-sensitive car segment. With "infrared curtains,"
Continental developers are opting for an economical alternative to touch
sensitive, so called capacitive displays.
"Back in 2011, we showed that an infrared
curtain can turn any surface in the car interior into a user interface,"
says Fook Wai Lee, display developer at Continental in Singapore. "We have
now developed this technology to the point where it also recognises typical
multi-touch gestures as input, like swiping, zooming, and pinching,” Lee added.
The technology even extends the recognition possibilities: capacitive touch
screens, as known from modern smartphones, cannot be used with standard gloves.
Especially designed types of gloves are necessary for the usage of standard
touch screens with gloves. “With our infrared technology, there is no need for
special gloves – our infrared curtain is able to detect touch gestures of
Continental's infrared curtain
is built from an array of infrared light sources on the sides of the display.
While a single row of LEDs was sufficient for one-finger operation, multi-touch
gestures require two rows of infrared lights connected together. If a
multi-touch gesture is performed in front of the display, the electronics of
the human machine interface (HMI) recognise the finger's positions from the
blocked light. In addition to having a cheaper production format compared to
capacitive displays that recognize gestures electronically, infrared curtains
can also be operated with gloves on. "The challenge is in the integration.
Our goal is an infrared light source that is sticking out only minimally over
the display surface yet still recognizes all desired multi-touch
gestures," explains Fook Wai Lee.
With this technology, the HMI
electronics recognise motions like swiping, zooming and pinching. This makes it
easy to move around selection menus or change the chosen section on a map. The
technology is ready for series production in 2017.
Continental has five
divisions, Chassis & Safety, Interior, Powertrain, Tires, and ContiTech.
In the Interior division,
everything revolves around information management and intelligent transport
systems. The wide range of products for various vehicle categories includes
instruments, multifunction displays and head-up displays, control devices,
vehicle access and tire information systems, radios, infotainment and operating
systems, climate control units, telematics solutions and services, software and
cockpits--All this for a variety of vehicles.
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