Canatu and TS TECH co-develop next-generation touch switches for in-vehicle applications

Offer an enhanced user experience and design

Press release in Japanese

SAITAMA, Japan and VANTAA, Finland, 30 October 2020TS TECH Co.,Ltd.,a global supplier of automobile and motorcycle seats and automotive interiors, and Canatu, the leading developer and manufacturer of 3D formable and stretchable films, touch sensors and heating solutions have jointly developed a new demonstrator to showcase the broad capabilities of both companies’ technologies in in-vehicle applications. The new demonstrator is a decorative door trim with 3D touch switches to control the power seat adjustments, fusing design and usability. Canatu and TS TECH will present the new demonstrator at the Automotive Interiors Virtual Live to be held 1-2 December 2020.

Autonomous driving calls for progressive human-machine interfaces (HMIs) that allow the driver to lean back and maximize comfort while driving. Seats and door trims will rise in relevance when designing HMIs as they are always closest to the driver. In level 3 vehicles (conditional driving automation) and above, it is assumed that the driver will take a relaxed posture within a range where he/she is always ready to take control if the system is unable to execute the task. However, when the driver enters this position the car’s centre display and instrument panel will be out of the occupant’s reach. Seats and door trims are ideal places for user interfaces as they allow a driver to effortlessly control the functions from the lean-back position.

Conventional capacitive touch sensor films may not be able to withstand stretching required for three-dimensional processing. With Canatu’s unique, bendable and transparent Carbon NanoBud (CNBTM) film, it is possible to incorporate touch switches that conform to the shape of the door trim grip. Together with TS TECH’s decorative door trim technology, the solution offers intuitive user experience and beautiful design. Touch switches feature lighting which remains discreetly hidden until the switches are activated.

“We believe that these 3D touch switches will become an integral component of the automotive HMIs in the future because they are thinner and lighter than conventional physical switches, have fewer restrictions on where they can be installed, and allow for a wide range of design possibilities when combined with decorative elements,” says Takahiro Kobori, Director and Executive General Manager, Corporate Development and Engineering Division Executive, TS TECH.

“With Canatu 3D touch technology, virtually any surface in the car can be made smart and functional. By integrating 3D touch switches into the seats, door trims and other automotive interiors, we are enabling a more convenient and comfortable driving experience while offering OEMs differentiation possibilities through higher degree of design freedom,” says Juha Kokkonen, CEO, Canatu Oy.

In the new demonstrator, functions are divided into upper and lower operating areas that are activated by two grip detection sensors located on the side of the door handle. Upon activation, touch switches and lights turn on in the respective operating area. In addition to forward and backward adjustments, the seatback recline can be altered, and the power seat can be raised or lowered and tilted, to suit the comfort of the driver / passenger. When the hand is released from the door handle, touch switches are disabled, and lighting turns off.

For more information, watch this animation, visit, and contact the company representatives.

Mari Makkonen, Marketing Director, Canatu, tel. +358 504 422 343,
Hiroaki Nagataki, Public Relations Section, Administration Department, TS TECH Co., Ltd., tel. +81 048 462 1136,


Touch switches feature lighting which remains discreetly hidden until the switches are activated in the respective operating area.
By applying these 3D touch and decorative door trim technologies, seats and doors trim become new HMIs and create a more comfortable cabin.

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About Canatu
Canatu is a leading developer and manufacturer of transparent conductive films, touch sensors and heating elements that are based on a new, carbon -based material the company has invented called Carbon NanoBud (CNBTM). CNB-based films, touch sensors and heaters are extremely stretchable and flexible, which means they can be formed to any 3D shape, offering increased design freedom and an enhanced user experience. With transparent and conductive CNBTM films, virtually any surface can be made smart and functional. Films and sensors can be embedded into plastic, textile or leather to enable intuitive 3D shaped user interfaces and heaters. The patented film manufacturing process combines aerosol synthesis of CNBTM material and Roll-to-Roll deposition by Direct Dry Printing. With these innovative technologies, Canatu offers touch module vendors and OEM’s enhanced design freedom and an intuitive HMI. Canatu is headquartered in Finland, with sales locations in Europe, the US, Japan, Greater China and Taiwan.

TS TECH is a global supplier of interior systems with business operations in 14 countries that cover all stages of the creation of automobile and motorcycle seats and interior components, from development through production. Since its establishment in 1960, TS TECH has pursued not only safety but comfort, which comes in many forms. In order to continue to recommend safe, comfortable automobile interiors to its customers around the globe, moving forward, TS TECH will use the wealth of seating technology it has amassed over the years and work to create new forms of value that look to the future.