Peratech matrix sensors offer “next-generation HMI experience” for automotive

September 14, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Peratech, developer of force touch technology, has expanded its offering in multi-touch and single-touch solutions specifically aimed at automotive electronics applications. Peratech's Opaque QTC force touch sensors offer innovative HMI possibilities for automotive designers and engineers, the company believes.

The slimline, infinitely customisable sensor system and complementary firmware address what Peratech sees as the failings of capacitive sensing whilst enabling next generation design themes, user experience, packaging benefits, and safety.

QTC-based sensors can be integrated under a wide range of top surfaces such as plastics, rubbers, wood, leather, metals, and even glass. They can also be deployed under flexible and rigid displays. With a wide force-sensing range and electronically-configurable force thresholds, QTC-based sensors eliminate false touches. Neil Jarvie, Peratech's VP of Global Sales, asserts, "We're solving the customer complaint issues around capacitive technology while meeting the strong customer desire for a smart touch experience."

Peratech matrix sensors provide "3D Multi-Touch" -- the ability to track multiple touches for position (X, Y) and independent pressure (Z) readings for each touch simultaneously. This seamless addition of z-axis pressure intelligence, “unlocks a whole new arena of user experience and design choices,” while enabling designers to reduce "button count" and complication from the centre stack, steering wheel and other cockpit surfaces.

"Replace the top surface of buttons with a display, and you have a Human Machine Interface (HMI) that is reconfigurable on the fly," added Jarvie. "Because Peratech sensors aren't affected by the electromagnetic interference of a display, we can make a display panel showing switches, sliders and knobs that actually work."

"We've tested our QTC-based sensors through cycles of -40 to +100 Celsius," added Jarvie, "as this is the operational temperature range that the automotive industry requires. During our testing, we found the performance of our QTC material met or exceeded the operational requirements in those high and low-temperature conditions. This rugged reliability combined with the true-pressure sensing that capacitive solutions cannot sense, are the key differentiators that have resulted in design wins for our technology with Tier 1 automotive companies."

"The requirement for a smart force touch display panel -- first and foremost -- is that is always works. You can't