Can you imagine starting your car with a swipe of your finger. Sounds very cool, right? Here we have a good news for you: the technology is going to be applied in your car.
One of the more eye-catching features of sci-fi-inspired technology has easily been the ability initiate a variety of functions with a swipe, a touch, or flick of your fingertips. Now, parts provider Magna is bringing the future back, as they say, with the advancement of what it calls Intelligent Surface Technology. If you’ve heard about a little device called the iPhone then think about that and you’re on the right track.
Controlling Magna’s Touchskin can be compared to that of a computer mouse, but stays in a fixed position. Functions that would normally need the driver or passenger to tackle physical or analog input can now accomplished with a simple swipe or roll of a finger around the centrally placed tool. Apart from starting the car’s engine with a swipe of a finger, drivers could also open the doors with a similar action, shift gears, or adjust the car mirrors, all with a simple flick of their finger.
Wedded to that system is a Clearmelt panel which comes with a self-healing, glossy surface enabling nicks and scratches to self-heal over time. But while Magna is the primary name heading up the technology, the various components are actually being produced by 9 different companies: Engel Mould Technologies, Plastic Electronics, Schöfer, Hueck, Niebling, Votteler, Magna Exteriors and Interiors, Hennecke Polyurethane, and formquadrat.
The whole system combines via Magna’s exclusive Integrated Device Molding Procedure (IDMP) and tethers a smartphone to the car wirelessly, and without the need of a Bluetooth or internet connection. Instead the IDMP utilizes upcoming industry mandated cellular Qi standards, which Magna contends is safer and can’t be hacked. Furthermore, this allows the transmitter coil in the phone to link via a “near-field” connection and enables for wireless charging.
Magna can even form the interface’s electrical innerds by using formable copper foil found inside the console’s plastic cover, so limitations relating to shape are virtually non-existent.
And while the technology might sound complex, Magna attests that the opposite is true. Actually, the system reduces auto parts complexity, component costs and assembly time, and even holds an increased safety component by centrally placing the control interface closer to the driver.