Human machine interfaces

Creating the cockpit of the future
with in-mould electronics

With new lighting- and display-integration concepts using in-mould electronics, Holst Centre offers safe and innovative solutions for the cockpit of the future. Next generation human-machine interfaces create an intuitive user experience that reduces driver distractions and increases road safety.

Over the past few decades we have become used to clean and intuitive interfaces for electronic devices. We use them every day when we touch our smart phones and tablets. The automotive industry is moving into the same direction: cleaner interfaces with fewer (visible) buttons and more and bigger displays. We see more dynamic buttons, context-driven and adjustable, as well as programmable and personal dashboards. At the same time, research on the in-car user experience shows that drivers still value the haptic feedback (the feel) and direct access of real buttons.

Next-level interfaces

At Holst Centre, we combine our extensive knowledge of printed electronics with our expertise in sensor and lighting technology to create structural electronics solutions. These allow you to integrate new sensing and haptics technologies into clean interfaces with invisible buttons, but still with haptic feedback. Instead of a cockpit scattered with buttons, interfaces are hidden at first sight, but as you get closer, relevant buttons appear, creating a smarter and safer interface. With optics integration for plastic parts, we can integrate LED and OLEDS to illuminate certain icons, enabling hidden buttons that are activated only when used. Our human-machine interface solutions provide capacitive and force-sensing resistor technology, and piezoelectric sensor integration.

In-mould electronics

The key enabling technology for creating these next-level cockpit interfaces is in-mould electronics. The first step is to print the electronics and integrate components and displays. Then we thermoform the electronics in the right shape, and mould it into a rigid component like regular car parts. The result is an intelligent part with complex functionalities that were not possible before.

In-mould electronics offer unique benefits that are especially valuable in the automotive industry, with reduced manufacturing complexity and costs, plus weight and space savings. At the same time this type of engineering offers clear advantages with regard to aesthetics, design freedom and functionality integration