Drivers who feel the need to affectionately stroke and caress their cars may no longer be declared weird. That’s because BMW is investigating a new kind of fiber that could revolutionize the whole in-car experience, according to an egmCarTech story.
The fabric is being researched by the Polytechnic School in Montreal, Canada, where students there are devloping a material that can be woven into fabric which has touch-sensitivity—think iPads, iPhones and iPods.
“In essence we are trying to reproduce the smartphone experience in textile form,” says researcher Maksim Skorobogatiy of the Polytechnic School. “We are looking for applications where we can weave in sleek, non-invasive control, avoiding blocks of push buttons.”
The result is a soft polymer-based fiber that will have “electrical properties that change depending on where it is touched.” If all goes well with the research, both BMW and Skorobogatiy said that the fabric can be used to help drivers control a power-seat function, the radio or even the HVAC controls. Even if this is a long way off, it's still a fascinating look into one possible future.––Paul Duchene
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