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Smart Cover

Development of automotive plastic components with sensor function integrated in smart textile

May 2009 – October 2011

* Collaboration project at CETEMMSA Technology Centre (Smart Objects Lab).
[ T H E   P R O J E C T ]

Context

Smart Cover is inscribed within the growing tendency for the adoption of novel, lighter, more compact and eco-friendly solutions in the design of components for the automobile sector, which constitutes an added value and represents a fundamental part in the development of new concepts of vehicles.
The project is leaded by CTAG (Galician Automotive Technology Centre) in collaboration with AIMPLAS (Technological Institute of Plastics) and CETEMMSA Technology Centre, and supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Aims

• Establishing the  “Assembly Design” methodology, based on the elimination of moving parts, in the design of a button panel for a vehicle door, integrating the fabric, the button panel and the armrest support in one single part by means of the combination of a textile sensor with tactile properties and a back-injected thermoplastic support.
• Developing a demonstrator prototype for a button panel of a door, feasible for application in the automotive industry.

Tasks and  outcome

CETEMMSA’s tasks consisted of:
• Defining the specifications for the sensory textile and developing it.
• Developing the interface control unit between the textile sensor and the vehicle’s control.
• Building the sensory textile probes for testing.
• Characterizing the mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of the sensory textile and its sensitivity.

The soft button panel

This flexible button panel is integrated into the armrest of a vehicle’s door. It consists of two sensor areas that open and shut the vehicle’s window. Visual and haptic features indicate the buttons’ functions. The visual indicator is provided by retro-illumination of a solid 3D shape with an electroluminescent lamp, printed on to the textile substrate, whereas haptic indication and feedback is given by the soft 3D shape it self.
Soft button panel

Technologies and materials

• Resistive textile sensor made of printed silver electrodes and Polypyrrole-coated twill.
• Multi-layered electroluminescent flexible lamp printed onto the textile substrate.
[M Y  R O L E ]

Design, development and characterization of the soft button panel

• Definition of the technical specifications for the sensory textile (in collaboration with CTAG).
• Design of the resistive sensors and the visual and haptic features that indicate the buttons’ function, according to specified dimensions and geometry.
• Selection of materials for the sensors and the button panel.
• Construction of probes for testing.
• Coordination of the tests conducted for the characterization of the soft button panel (in collaboration with CTAG and AIMPLAS).
Funded by
Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation
European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)
Consortium
CTAG (Galician Automotive Technology Centre)
CETEMMSA Technology Centre
AIMPLAS (Technological Institute of Plastics)
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