Touch display provides haptic feedback

May 29, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive supplier Continental has launched display that provides a tactile feedback for use in cars. The feedback feature increases operating safety and user-friendliness to the increasingly complex human machine interfaces in vehicles.

Operating touch screens requires some complex hand-eye coordination, which may temporarily distract the driver. To find the desired operating element, select it, and ensure that the intended function has really been triggered, drivers must sometimes divert their attention away from the road for several seconds, and are thus "flying blind" during this time.

With its active haptic feedback display Continental offers an intelligent and state of the art solution to this dilemma. The novelty of it is that this display provides feedback by means of a movement impulse that can be felt through the user’s fingers, indicating that the desired operation has been triggered and understood by the system. To be used in vehicles these displays need to fulfill several additional requirements. For example, a finely tuned force recognition (or "force sensing") ensures that accidental touches can be distinguished from intentional operational commands.

"The active haptic feedback enables us to close the loop between driver, vehicle, and environment," explains Eelco Spoelder, Head of the Continental business unit Instrumentation and Driver HMI. "The clear advantage is that the driver does not have to change focus or take their eyes off the road, but instead get direct tactile feedback on the touch screen.”

Continental presents its first complete touch display with haptic feedback as a demonstrator with technology ready for production. It is a touch‑sensitive car-appropriate 8-inch screen (20.3 cm) with an inbuilt haptic actuator system.

The actuators basically consist of an electromagnetic spool with two windings. In certain operating situations, they trigger mechanical feedback that can be clearly felt by the user, whilst at the same time helping to measure the force exerted. They are fitted behind the construction elements of the touch display, and are thus located under the screen's bonded layers (protective glass, capacitive sensor, display). The conditions for use in vehicles and the basic principle of active haptic feedback require an especially rigid structure of the individual construction elements. The solution presented here can be scaled to larger display sizes depending on vehicle manufacturers´ requirements. An application of the haptic feedback for display sizes of 12.3 inches seems technically possible at present.