glass touch keyboards

We have been witnessing the evolution of cars in both design and performance for generations. Step by step, thanks to visionaries and engineering geniuses, this progress has led to the cars speeding along our roads today.

One of the challenges of today’s designers is to create increasingly extreme and modern HMIs (dashboards and cockpits). This should be combined with the continuity of design necessary to perceive the innovations as a natural evolution of the style and brand of the car.
Touch technology is definitely the trend of the near future in terms of user interfaces; it has essential technical and aesthetic advantages, even if some troubles may arise in its different implementations. It is indeed important not to confuse the touch technology used for keyboards, buttons and replaces the old mechanical keys with touch screens.

In recent years, in the automotive industry, simultaneously with the technological innovation of smartphones and tablets, there has been an advent of large touch displays inside the cars.
Aiming to update the driver with information on traffic conditions, weather, hazard warnings, and email and message notifications, touch screens have increasingly taken over the car dashboard.

Also recent is the arrival At the same time, major players in the industry such as Android and Apple have designed systems that adapt to car screens, reproducing the features of smartphones to all intents and purposes.

According to a study conducted by the University of Utah, the infotainment systems introduced inside the cars are far from safe and indeed, would greatly increase the possibility of the driver being distracted.  Professor David L. Strayer, who led this research, noted that many of the infotainment features are so distracting that they shouldn’t be enabled while people are driving.

“This is troublesome because motorists may assume that features that are enabled when they are driving are safe and easy to use”, said Strayer.

Both the use of touchscreen technology and  of voice-based features lead drivers to be distracted by both taking their eyes off the road  and their hands off  the steering wheel, taking extremely dangerous periods of time.
The study shows that drivers need a technology that is safe and easy to use, but many of the features included in-car infotainment systems are currently too complex to use while driving and, at times, the user experience is frustrating for drivers.  The frustration caused by an unsatisfactory use of these systems generates a greater cognitive effort on the part of the driver and therefore a potential increase in driving distraction.

A possible solution could be a system that does not affect drivers ’visual, cognitive and manual attention . The design of touch buttons on the steering wheel and on the dashboard that vibrate in response to the driver’s commands could prove to be an intuitive and non-distracting way to carry out the same operations envisaged by the infotainment.
Furthermore, superficial finger guides can be created on the same buttons , thus allowing the driver to detect the commands without looking at the keyboard.

Overall, the need to develop HMIs with attractive, modern and safe designs is a problem that touch technology combined with decorated glass can solve.

Glass is a noble and sustainable material that increases the design level of the product in which it is integrated. With appropriate precautions, it is extremely safe and robust even for demanding industries such as the automotive industry.

The combination of touch technology with glass is a very strong technical and aesthetic mix with the ability to innovate the automotive HMI sector ensuring safety on all fronts.
The ability to customize the glass decoration with digital and industrial methods is a fundamental element that responds to the need of car manufacturers to innovate their design in line with their brand.

èlevit is an innovative start-up that has developed highly reliable and fully customizable glass keyboards and touch buttons. These products can be integrated into vehicles, responding to the need of drivers to avoid distractions. At the same time they èlevit integrates in its products all the useful functions provided by new technologies and keeps the design factor high as required by car manufacturers.

For these reasons,  èlevit is the perfect partner to develop innovative HMI products also in the automotive industry.

Buttons and keyboards of the machinery used in the food and medical sectors have common technical needs. They must be easy to sanitize, not accumulate dirt, be reliable and resist degradation despite the stress they are subjected to. These requirements must, whenever possible, coincide with an intuitive design.

Although today it is the most used solution to realize these user interfaces, mechanical buttons made of plastic or metal, have very strong limits on all the specifications listed above. They accumulate dirt, wear out quickly and are not easy to clean.

In addition, the focus on developing products that are easy to sanitize has increased exponentially in recent years due to the health risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic. The need to develop products that can be easily sanitized has extended to products in common use such as household appliances.

The possible solution could be combining intuitive and functional touch technology for the creation of buttons and switches with glass, durable and easy to sanitize.

A comparison between mechanical buttons and glass touch keypads.

One of the main characteristics of glass is having a very low porosity. This property allows it not to absorb and not to release substances. The glass avoids the accumulation of dirt residues after cleaning the surface, resulting in an excellent material to be sanitized easily.

There are many research studies (example) dedicated to the development of glasses that integrate antibacterial properties, obtained thanks to surface treatments or mix of materials of which they are composed.

Moreover, glass is an extremely robust material capable of maintaining its mechanical properties even when stressed. Surely the operating life cycle of a product with glass surfaces is much greater than the plastic surfaces themselves.

In addition, touch technology is the trend of the near future for the creation of buttons and keyboards. Touch systems have considerable design advantages but they are not the only benefits that they bring to the product in which they are integrated. 

There are also fundamental technical benefits that make touch technology the new frontier for sectors such as food and medical or in general all products that need simple sanitation.

Example of touch keyboard inserted in the medical field

Another fundamental aspect is that in touch keyboards the surface of the keyboard remains continuous, without the coves necessary to build the mechanical buttons that inevitably lead to accumulation of dirt. 

The touch technology combined with glass has all the necessary advantages for the realization of innovative products with keyboards easy to clean and sanitize.

To these technical characteristics are added the greater durability and resistance compared to plastic materials that combine with aesthetic advantages given the higher and more intuitive design of glass touch buttons than mechanical ones.

èlevit is an innovative start-up that has developed highly reliable and fully customizable glass touch buttons and keyboards that can be integrated into medical and food machinery, combining the need for hygiene and sanitization with excellent technical functionality.

tastiera touch decorata

An example of glass touch keyboards produced by èlevit.