A surprisingly simple interface with a revolutionary interaction method
The quest of developing a new central control panel concept for Hyundai’s car infotainment system, led our team to a revolutionary, but simple outcome: an inverted sphere, the “bowl”. It relies heavily on our ability to navigate securely precise circles with our index finger and to have a clear sense of location – without visual confirmation. Try it out yourself – draw circles with your index finger in a bowl and be surprised about your precision – when doing this blindfolded. It can be operated precisely and blindly due to the spatial awareness of our fingertips. Further concept explorations revealed the superiority of the concept in a range of driving related contexts.
ClientHyundai Motor Europe Technical Center GmbH
IndustryAutomotive & Mobility
The tools shape the outcome
Rapid prototyping materials combined with conductive spray paint opened up endless possibilities in the creative ideation, leading towards new approaches of contoured touch surfaces for safely operating future car infotainment systems.
After a decade of jog dials, what’s next?
After successful collaboration in previous projects, Hyundai approached us to develop the concept and functioning prototype of a new control panel for the car infotainment system, replacing the classical jog-dial controller that has dominated the in-car UI space for the last decade. A key aspect was the focus on a 2017/18 product launch, while still delivering a true innovation. Our team envisioned a tailored process that aimed at very early ideating with haptic concepts in the driving context, stepping beyond off-the-shelf solutions but rather starting the controller development from scratch.
A “first hack” approach hand in hand with a user centered methodology
Right from the beginning, the team ‘thought’ with materials, realizing simple but haptic prototypes to instantly learn in the driving context about strength and weaknesses of each concept variant. Continuously refining the concepts, the team employed state-of-the-art rough and rapid prototyping technologies like Arduino, 3D print and conductive paint to create functioning prototypes with touch-sensitive surfaces beyond the flat touch pad, exploring a range of different rounded, facetted, elliptic and concave forms. Accompanying user tests helped the team to identify continuously the best concepts with optimal usability. These iterative loops resulted in a seamless concept refinement workflow throughout the project.
Integrated and symbiotic development of visual and tangible interface
A complete interface exists of course of the hardware and the on-screen UI. The better the input is linked or mapped to the on-screen actions, the more seamless, intuitive and effortless the operation of the system will feel. The development of the on-screen UI ran in parallel to the touch interface, interactive prototypes were early on realized to allow the designaffairs and Hyundai teams, to get a sense of how the operation of the on-screen interaction concept would feel in correlation with the touch interface. The final project outcome provided a convincing result: The ‘bowl’ was presented to the public during the 2015 Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance (USA), staged in the center console of the Hyundai HCD-16 Vision G Concept Coupe.