Smart surfaces

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Smart surfaces offer functionality on demand as Yanfeng demonstrates the invisible integration of features into interior concepts.

Yanfeng, a specialist in cabin concepts, recently showcased its latest developments in smart surface technology. Its new demonstrator consists of seven intuitive human-machine interface (HMI) solutions, integrated into different surfaces. The idea is to to highlight the various ways in which the passenger experience can be redefined to suit OEMs’ specific requirements, and how innovative operating concepts can be implemented in customizable designs.

“We are using the smart surface demonstrator with its multiple control interfaces as a basis for discussion about the various implementation options for HMI solutions,” explained Han Hendriks, chief technology officer at Yanfeng Technology. “The shapes, colors and, in particular, features presented, are examples that illustrate new degrees of freedom of design and functional integration.”

The intuitive HMI technologies used focus on convenience and safety and are aligned with the company’s Smart Cabin approach, whereby functional surfaces, health and wellness features, as well as connectivity, can be seamlessly integrated into interiors in the future.

Sensor-enabled intuitive operating functions
The demonstrator features an ambient light source under a fabric-covered decorative textile surface. Passengers can control the lighting intuitively thanks to a sensor behind the light, regulating the light color and intensity by swiping the translucent surface. As with all mechatronic solutions on the module, the lighting area is only visible in an ‘on’ state.

The company’s experience in integrating technology into soft surfaces goes beyond decorative textiles, extending to artificial leather as well. In addition to seamlessly integrated dynamic surface illumination, which can be used as a blind-spot warning light, for example, two backlit buttons are also embedded in the artificial leather decor. The touch icons respond to interactions with color changes. Both the dynamic illumination and the buttons appear when a hand comes close – thanks to the so-called ‘secret-till-lit’ technology.

Features that appear when needed
The high-gloss decorative panel of the Smart Surface Demonstrator features an iconic switch framed by corona lighting, with light orchestration used to visualize the switch function. Next to it are three touch icons with a secret-till-lit effect, which are designed as controls for seat adjustment. In addition, reconfigurable display switches have also been integrated into the decorative panel. Their switching functionality can be adapted to customer-specific operating concepts.

Yanfeng has also invisibly integrated slider touch sensor technology into real wood trim. To achieve this, the wood is perforated and features a backlit function indicator, which only appears when the slider is touched. The switch function is also confirmed through haptic feedback.

The Smart Surface demonstrator functions are currently at a concept design stage and may be used as early as the next generation of vehicles, in model year 2021.

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