MMI | research

Touch-operated MMI

State of the art

In both professional and consumer products, switches are the main element by which the operator of a technical apparatus can influence its operational functionality. Hence, switching is the essential element of any Man Machine Interface (MMI). Contemporary MMIs are increasingly often realized by means of touch buttons, touch panels or touch screens. These buttons, panels or screens operate in such a way that hardly any mechanical work is needed from the operator in order to realize a switching action, implying that there is a minimization of motions and of the number of moving parts, which results in many advantages. Furthermore, touch panels and screens are one of the most flexible input devices, due to the fact that the interface is designed in software. No problem with different languages, or high initial costs for small changes. Thus, touch-operated MMI is a market that is of significant size already and, having a growth rate of about 25% per year, is rapidly becoming more important.

The user interface designs follow the conventional technology trends, but also additional challenges apply. Expressions such as haptic feedback, easy to use, backlighting and low energy consumption are becoming more and more common. Here especially trade-offs between easy to use and low stand by energy consumption demands for efficient cooperation between hardware design and software programming. This is also becoming more and more important in the UI (User Interfaces) market.


Knowledge development

The knowledge that will be developed in this sub program is:

- Models that document the behavior of piezo-based touch-operated User Interfaces.

- Mechanical design principles for piezo-based touch-operated MMIs.

- Design knowledge regarding Application Specific ICs for piezo-based touch-operated MMIs.

- Insight in the application possibilities of wireless battery-less piezo-based switches.