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Curvy, touchy, illuminated, and animated control surfaces

Uniphy is going to bling and sex up a Hyundai—is that even legal?

Posted: By Jon Peddie 03.03.22

Founded in 2016 in Royal Wootton Bassett near Swindon, Uniphy has developed a 3D smart-surface solution. It combines novel algorithms and patented technologies, and uses standard materials and mainstream manufacturing processes. The result is touch screens that can be formed on various surfaces and include touch sensitivity to create smart 3D interfaces.

This is really cool stuff and will enable designers to create human-machine interfaces (HMIs) that are beautiful and provide experiences that are intuitive and natural. The company says the technology goes beyond touch, and they even trademarked that phrase.

The technology unifies non-conductive, finger-pressure touch sensing with the integration of physical HMI features, including dials, buttons, and sliders. It also provides haptic feedback, touch gesture, and proximity recognition. And it does all that while being able to also host proprietary or third-party HMI features, such as voice user interfaces. And, for OEMs, the company claims it offers robustness and is economical. No other company is capable of realizing smart surfaces using commodity materials, such as plastics or glass, as well as standard multi-shot manufacturing processes.

Uniphy’s multi-layered touch-sensitive display technology can be free-formed to almost any shape.

 

The company has several concept ideas that offer new design language with controls integrated on complicated areas of geometry. That can allow complex menu systems to be condensed and layered using Force Touch and gestures. And since it’s an active display, it can be off (hidden, so to speak) until it’s touched.

Hyundai Motor Group saw it and liked it. So much so, they and Uniphy have signed an agreement to work together to develop free-form-conforming HMls for cars. The companies will use Uniphy’s patented Canvya 3D smart-surface technology to produce an innovative in-car user interface.

Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center GmbH (HMETC) is the European R&D center of Hyundai Motor Group. HMETC is an Automotive R&D center that monitors innovative technologies and then uses it to create original concepts that often find their way into production vehicles.

What do we think?

This is the future. All the wonderful and wonderous HMIs you’ve seen in fantastic sci-fi films is now real. Designers’ imaginations are unleased and no longer constrained by material or electronic constraints. Let your imagination wander and think of what you would like to have a control surface. If it’s outlandish enough, send it to Uniphy.