Magna Touchskin technology takes a swipe at switchgear in cars [w/video]

The Touchskin interface has beeen on display since last October; now it's at a stage where Magna is shopping it to automakers. Although Magna is the marquee name, the various components that comprise Touchskin are produced by nine companies: Plastic Electronics, Engel Mould Technologies, Schöfer, Magna Exteriors and Interiors, Hueck, Niebling, Votteler, Hennecke Polyurethane and formquadrat.

It is exactly what it sounds like: instead of buttons and knobs populating the center tunnel space around the gearshift, there is a a perfectly smooth Clearmelt panel whose glossy surface heals itself of scratches and nicks. On either side of the shifter in the concept is the IDMP area, where your mobile phone rests. Without needing to be docked, the phone can connect with the car through Qi transmitters (common to phones as of this year) and be charged. The IDMP area and near-field Qi system is one of Magna's contributions and the company says it can't be hacked like Bluetooth or Internet protocols.

To the rear of the concept panel is the haptic interface, a protuberance that responds to numerous fingertip gestures to provide control of the car's various systems. It is made possible by the Touchskin film, produced in reel-to-reel fashion at a rate of 80 meters per minute, that can be molded to any shape and is wedded to the Clearmelt with copper foil.

There's a video just below to take you through the production process and how Touchskin works. It's unlikely the entire panel would make it into a new car, but we can certainly see it creeping, piece by glossy piece, into our Minority Report futures.

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