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

TS 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 TS TECH touch switches for automotive interiors

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.

“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.”

Takahiro Kobori, Director and Executive General Manager, Corporate Development and Engineering Division Executive, TS TECH

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 nanotube 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.

“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.”

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.


Mari Makkonen Canatu VP Marketing and Communications
Mari Makkonen
VP, Marketing & Communications +358 504 422 343

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About Canatu
Canatu is a carbon nanomaterial developer creating the most advanced carbon nanotubes for industry-transforming products. The Canatu carbon nanotube (CNT) technology has been created with a unique process that ensures the required versatility and reliability for highly engineered solutions. Canatu partners with forerunner companies, together transforming products for better tomorrows with nano carbon. The company’s focus is in the automotive and semiconductor industries with the portfolio’s core spanning from ADAS heaters to 3D touch sensors and to EUV membranes. The experts at Canatu think big and create impacts on the tiniest scale – nano solutions for massive impact. Canatu’s headquarters are in Finland with sales offices also in the US, Japan and Taiwan.