Multimodal haptic controller for automotive HMI


Modern car interior designs have been evolving towards more intuitive Human Machine Interfaces. The current trend has led to a reduction in the number of mechanical elements and the widespread use of touchscreens. However, such user interfaces have the disadvantage of being flat surfaces, and usually require the user to divert their gaze from the road to the screen in order to locate the correct command.

OEMs may opt for a multipurpose physical interface such as a control knob, however this solution requires some degree of versatility if it is to be used for multiple commands. The simplicity of a passive mechanical dial comes with a lack of variability, while most active haptic solutions currently on the market use complex – and bulky – motor-based devices which can be noisy and require electrical consumption during use.

With future HMI trends in mind, MMT proposes an innovation that brings a new multimodal experience to the classic control knob.

Various detent positions are created magnetically, providing a noiseless and wear-free alternative to a mechanical ratchet. Modulation is provided by a “variable permanent magnet” which can switch states to alter the magnetic coupling and change the user feeling, ranging from free-wheel to multiple detent positions and cogging torque amplitudes.

The technology is compact and scalable, and perfect for use as a multimodal HMI for the central console or the steering wheel. This principle can be tailored to a variety of applications, from simple passive devices with high density notched scrolling, to fully programmable control knobs that can be customized on the fly to match various control functions (HVAC, media, driving mode selection…).


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