As we’ve covered previously, touchscreens offer many advantages over traditional, analog input and interface tools. They consume less space, can offer different tools and functions based on current needs, and can be easily updated and changed whenever needed. However, they do have a couple of drawbacks, especially for cases where visual attention needs to be elsewhere. For instance, it is unsafe for a driver to take their eyes off the road to adjust their vehicle’s stereo systems or climate control systems. In these cases, a touchscreen control can be problematic.
At CES 2018, vehicle infotainment system makers delivered on a new concept taking advantage of the latest in touchscreen technology – the molded 3D screen. Haptic feedback has already been commonplace in devices for some time, creating a feeling of “clicking” a button, but now, devices will be able to offer sensations like scrolling or moving sliders along real 3D surfaces that still update their looks based on the current control structure and other factors.
Of course, the technology still has limitations, as the screens cannot change their 3D forms along with the graphics displayed, so software will need to be designed with HMIs that integrate the molded areas into each function – or those areas of the screen will become useless during some functions. Naturally, various deice manufacturers will want to custom design their 3D molded screens to their own software designs.