The last ten years have been extremely exciting in modern Human Machine Interface design, especially in consumer electronics with the arrival of the tactile smart phones and tablets, resulting in immense opportunities but also intense challenges for technology providers, system integrators and OEM HMI designers. In automotive HMI, the arrival of advanced telematics, the spill over from consumer electronics trends and ever more safety solutions have driven innovation and engaging interfaceconcepts as recently demonstrated in Mercedes C-class Touchpad.
More generally, in all new product design, the trend is similar and goes to refined aesthetics meaning flat and curvy surfaces where direct mechanical interfaces are replaced by ‘softer’ interfaces based on touchsensing or even only proximity sensing. This leads also in user information feedback evolution becoming more visual, acoustic and haptic. Whereas the visual and acoustic sensations are well addressed by common digital media systems (screen and loudspeaker), the haptic sense is still only in its infancy in its ability to deliver rich and satisfying experience.