Issue: Dec 2005


Volkswagen AG Licenses Immersion TouchSense Technology



by Lenny Case

Immersion Corporation a leading developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, today announced that Volkswagen AG has signed a license agreement allowing use of Immersion technology for control panels in its passenger vehicles.

The technology supplies tactile, or haptic, cues, so that instead of just feeling the hard surface of virtual control panels, users perceive that buttons depress and release, just as physical buttons and switches do. Automotive control systems enhanced with Immersions technology will help reduce glance times and distractions for drivers accessing in-car information. The technology works by supplying haptic feedback in response to programmed effects that vary in frequency, waveform, magnitude, and duration. The result is that all sorts of on-screen buttons, switches, and other controls can supply distinct sensations to allow greater discrimination for users and more extensive applications for the control system interface. In cars, these applications include navigation, climate, and entertainment controls.

'We believe that advanced automotive controls are important to enhancing the driving experience and simplifying a growing number of functions within the car,' said Dr. Volkmar Tanneberger, head of Electronic Functions Development Department, Volkswagen AG. 'We see Immersions haptic technology as an important element in providing a better driving experience.'

'Use of our technology in automotive infotainment systems is completely new," said Mike Zuckerman, senior vice president and general manager of Immersions Automotive and Industrial business unit. 'It is a distinctive way to provide the type of engaging response and rich tactile information that consumers like about physical controls, the authentic feel of pushing a button or depressing a membrane switch. And it's just one of several haptic implementations that we have for car controls.'


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