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Car Tech: Touchscreen Fabric Coming To Car Interiors Of The Future

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On: Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 10:05AM | By: Chris Weiss

Car Tech: Touchscreen Fabric Coming To Car Interiors Of The Future

If researchers at Montreal's Polytechnic School and BMW have their way, future cars may incorporate touch-sensitive fabrics that allow drivers to control functions by simply tapping or rubbing the interior fabric. BMW has shown some interest in the experimental technology.

According to New Scientist, researchers at the Institute have developed a soft fiber that hosts electrical properties from the copper wire and conductive and insulative polymers weaved in. The idea is that the fiber would be woven into fabric and could create different electrical signals depending on where it's touched.

It still sounds quite rudimentary and experimental, but if it materializes, people could tap or swipe their fingers and hands across the material to perform different electrically based functions. In a car, this could mean tapping your finger against the door fabric to change the level of air conditioning or perhaps gliding your hand backwards on the seat to move it back.

It sounds a little strange at first, but with a little imagination, you can see how it could make for a more intuitive driving experience. At least BMW seems to think so. The article quotes Bimmer spokeswoman Melina Aulinger as saying: "Touch-sensitive surfaces are a very interesting technology for controlling operations in a car."

So will we see BMW cars with conductive seats and doors in the future? It's a little too early to know for sure, but it certainly sounds like a possibility. BMW already has some pretty impressive next-generation technologies planned, so we wouldn't be surprised if this technology is added to the suite.

Personally, though, I don't get all the hype around touch-sensitive controls. They look cool at first but really don't seem all that much easier or more pleasant to use than "archaic" buttons and dials. I still prefer a keypad 100 percent over a touchscreen on my phone, and I find a mouse much easier to use than a touchpad. I'm sure others disagree, but I just don't see the attraction in touching and rubbing everything to make it work when using physical controls is just as easy or easier.



Stephy21 | 11:19AM (Mon, Jan 30, 2012)

All this talk about new technology is making me wonder what are cars are going to look like in a couple years. Its scarey to think about.


Sami18 | 11:47AM (Mon, Jan 30, 2012)

All this technology sounds great but i think it might just be to much. I know that Automakers want to improve for the future but their is no need to make things more complicated than they already are. And this whole thing with touching the seat to control basic functions is just ridiculous.

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