BMW's smart fabrics could control climate and audio fun... BMW's smart fabrics could control climate and audio functions (BMW).
Touch screens and touch pads are gaining traction throughout the automotive marketplace. So what's the next revolutionary input technology? Beyond gesture controls, it's likely to be smart fabrics, a technology already being analyzed by BMW.

Researchers have developed a flexible, polymer-based fiber that can be woven into fabrics, creating a pad that records touches and swipes when alternating current runs through the fibers. The material can be cleaned like regular fabrics, marking a big improvement from first iterations.

While working on its ConnectedDrive driver assistance system last year, BMW used a similar concept while embedding panels in seats and the dash. The automaker is examining the technology, but there's no timeline on when it might arrive in the market.

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