Tanvas, a specialist in multi-touch haptic technology, has unveiled a piezo-free, non-vibrating automotive multi-touchscreen display that enables manufacturers to produce custom, programmable textures and haptic effects on a screen’s smooth glass surface.

The 15” display, developed in partnership with Innolux, implements TanvasTouch technology to produce a wide variety of software-defined textures and haptic effects. Streamlined surfaces are increasingly replacing physical knobs and dials inside the cabin, and this technology assists the driver to find and adjust controls while keeping their eyes on the road.

The solid-state TanvasTouch technology, which uses an electric field to modulate friction locally where the user’s fingers move across a surface, is a replacement for traditional vibrotactile haptics in automotive applications. It has no moving parts and generates no vibration, eliminating the need to build dampening structures into the assembly of a display which produces vibration-based haptic effects.

It also introduces new manufacturing options which enable automotive manufacturers to re-imagine the design and feel of the vehicle’s interior.

Unlike electro-mechanical haptics, solid-state TanvasTouch haptic technology can be implemented in any display format, including large and curved displays. It can be deployed on surfaces of any shape.

Suitable substrates include glass, plastic, metal, ceramics, and natural surfaces and the technology provides freedom for the car manufacturer to create a uniform or harmonious touch experience across multiple surfaces – not only the display screen, but also the steering wheel, exterior door handle and even upholstery.

“The automotive display has until now been a predominantly visual interface even though the focus of the driver’s eyes should be on the road, not on the screen,” said Phill LoPresti, CEO of Tanvas. “Tanvas’ technology, now realised for the first time with an automotive-qualified display supplier, allows car manufacturers to create a rich and vivid palette of effects and textures to enable touch rather than vision to become the primary means of control of the Center Information Display.”

Automotive manufacturers can implement TanvasTouch with a combination of:

  • A proprietary controller solution, which performs multi-touch sensing and haptics control. This may be supplied in various forms including as an IC or as a module.
  • A transformation of the multi-touch sensor panel to a combined multi-touch and haptic actuator for any surface