GMS ’10: Mercedes to show ‘cam touchpad’ HMI on the F800

Mercedes-Benz is presenting a new human-machine interface (HMI) equipped with a cam touchpad on the F 800 Style. The feature is a well-conceived system expansion for COMAND.

The HMI unit here consists of a touchpad on the center console and a camera that records video images of the user’s hand as it works the pad. The live image of the hand is presented in transparent form in the central display above the console. The key advantage of this solution is that icons that would be covered by the hand with conventional cell phones, for example, remain visible.

Users see their hands glide across the touchscreen as a “transparent” contour, allowing them to operate the functions of the current menu by applying a slight pressure. The touchpad can be operated with several fingers at the same time, and operating it feels similar to touching the keys of a notebook computer. Because the user interface is depressed by a few millimeters when touched, the activities carried out with the fingers are physically confirmed by the sense of touch.

The cam touchpad unit recognizes finger movements on the pad surface such as wiping, pushing, turning, and zooming, thus enabling intuitive regulation of the climate control system, phones, audio and navigation systems, and Internet access. The unit enhances active safety as well, because it is very easy and convenient to use and therefore does not distract the motorist as much from the actual task of driving.

An infrared camera records the image of the hand and transmits it to the central display of the HMI with cam touchpad. The camera also detects the direction in which the hand is moving. The hand is always shown in the display when it is nearing the touchpad, but not when it is gliding across the center console. In this way, the system makes sure that the driver is not distracted by unexpected depictions in the central display.

Source: Mercedes Benz.

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