Panasonic blends capacitive touch with smart haptics in automotive displays

Elaborating on its capacitive rotary encoder, the Magic Knob, Panasonic has collaborated with Microchip to develop touch sensors which can be placed anywhere in a vehicle’s information display on the central dashboard.

The Magic Knob in its original form required a dedicated unique pattern on the touch sensor, limiting some design and touch handling. This is no longer necessary with the MPMK (Microchip Panasonic Magic Knob). The capacitive rotary encoder contains mechanical rotation and push functionality that can be placed everywhere on the touch area in order to bridge the gap between touch and mechanical haptics. 

It is ready to be driven with standard touch sensors by using Microchip’s exclusive MK variant of the maXTouch touchscreen controllers, allowing the knob to be placed anywhere on the touch panel. In addition to the rotating operation, there is a vertical ring push function. Both functions can be customised, offering the customers a click feeling sensation.

Mounting the MPMK directly on the touch panel allows touch panel and HVAC operating devices to be easily integrated, said Panasonic.

The profile is slimmer than the original and the number of components has been reduced. The MPMK can operate in the same way for non-display applications – as long as there is a capacitive sensor behind the respective flat or glass panel, said Panasonic. 

Under special circumstances, the unit can be reliably operated with gloves, confirmed the company.

Vehicle electrification is increasing – and correspondingly the extent of touch panel usage for the operation of automotive cockpit applications. Screen sizes have grown excessively – either as pillar to pillar architecture or as seamlessly designed massive center console displays. As a result, displays are getting ever larger – and thus more complicated to be operated only via touch input. This can be significantly improved by incorporating hybrid input devices, such as the MPMK, allowing an intelligent capacitive and mechanical operation, advised Panasonic. 

The Panasonic Group supplies technologies and products for the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, industry, communications, and energy sectors worldwide.

Panasonic Industry Europe is part of the global Panasonic Group and provides automotive and industrial products and services in Europe. 

The company’s portfolio covers key electronic components, devices and modules up to products and production equipment for manufacturing lines across a broad range of industries.


Latest News from Softei

This news story is brought to you by, the specialist site dedicated to delivering information about what’s new in the electronics industry, with daily news updates, new products and industry news. To stay up-to-date, register to receive our weekly newsletters and keep yourself informed on the latest technology news and new products from around the globe. Simply click this link to register here: Softei Registration