Audi Haptic Touch

Innovative operating concept for infotainment systems.

The operating element of Audi Haptic Touch, enhancement of user experience.

What you see is what you feel.

We developed an innovative operating concept called Haptic Touch for Audi that combines the benefits of conventional touch pads and push-rotary buttons, this significantly improving the User Experience. The touch-sensitive surface can activate 1,200 individual piezoelectrically-controlled pins depending on the selected screen content and becomes an adaptive, perceptible interaction interface. All display contents can be felt, similar to Braille, on the touch pad.

Client Info

Audi AG
Automotive & Mobility
Project Date
2007 - 2011


The touch-sensitive interface controls 1,200 individual piezoelectrically-controlled pins.


The individual pins rise up by approx. 1 mm upon activation.

Shape Shifting Device

The Haptic Touch innovation lies in the perceptible depiction of its graphical display contents. We made the operating element the sole interaction tool for all infotainment tasks such as, for example, operating the radio, navigation system or air conditioning, and replaced the conventional solutions like the push-rotary buttons. Audi Haptic Touch comprises a tactile matrix of 20×5 Braille modules by METEC that control 1,200 individual pins on a touch surface measuring 10×7.5 cm. The pins are raised up by approx. 1 mm from their initial position here. We used a replaceable, water resistant laminate to create an aesthetic and dirt proof surface. This adapts to the pins’ movement and ensures an optimum haptic experience for the user.

Next Generation HMI

In 2007 the innovation driver Audi was looking for a partner to take the topic of a centralized, menu-driven infotainment system in the automotive interior a step further. Together with the Technical University Munich, designaffairs was commissioned with the task of developing an innovative operational concept that both maintained the advantageous split between display and operation for dual task applications and at the same time simplified the operational elements inside the car. We set ourselves the objective of enabling the driver to operate the HMI without having to take his eyes off the road. The result was the Haptic Touch idea, that mirrors the graphical display contents by touch and at the same time facilitates a direct manipulation of the infotainment system.

Haptic Feedback – Feeling dynamic displays

The graphical display contents are depicted haptically, so that the driver can feel and operate the HMI without having to look.

Detailed view of the piezoelectrically-controlled pins and electronics of Audi Haptic Touch.
Proof of Feasibility

Our designers and engineers began the development of a new operational concept for Audi with a competitive benchmark analysis. We developed the initial innovation concepts based on the strengths-and-weaknesses profile of existing infotainment systems. Special interaction patterns were explored and further developed as part of this process. Our team also tested diverse materials, technical components and ergonomic factors – such as the ideal finger position – in order to find the best possible solutions in terms of haptic and ease of use. The result was two prototypes, the latter of which was constructed in such a way that Audi could install it in a real vehicle. In driving simulation tests conducted by Audi, the advantages of our haptic touch pad soon became clear when compared to a conventional touch pad without these haptic elements. In 2011 Audi presented the Haptic Touch vision to a wide audience at both the CES and the IAA.

Read more about this here. The text is only avaliable in German.

Audi Haptic Touch demonstrator.
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Persons in charge.
Fabian Kreuzer, User Interface Designer.

Fabian Kreuzer Competence Lead Interaction Innovation

“Perfect Interaction Design does not only convince visually, but communicates by addressing all senses.”