In many areas users enter inputs within complex devices, trigger functions, or simply like to monitor the state of a device. This user interface can be realized in many different ways. The range is from turning knobs, pressure and toggle switches, analog dial instruments up to flat technology with touch sensors. The two options mentioned here do possess significant disadvantages. Conventional switching and display technology with discrete elements are expensive to assemble, have high weight, need space and are also confusing. As a consequence of the flat panels, design and ergonomics are restricted on flat squares. Considered as a whole, discrete components are included in these control and display instruments. Whereas the electronics is usually placed in housings outside of design or mechanical components. Connectors and cables are required among the components. The dashboard of cars is an example for such an user interface. Precisely, here the symbiosis of design, ergonomics and function is extremely important.
With this project it is assumed to evaluate the possibility of compressing a huge number of control and display functions in a space-saving manner into a dashboard characterized by a specific design. Contrary to what is suggested by the term “board”, here the subject of interest are components, which meet high visual and haptic claims with a multiple bended surface. New challenges within the integration of electronics are created due to the three-dimensional design. Thereby both design and production are very demanding. But also the visual impact of displays combined with a new specified design requires new solutions in terms of materials, surfaces and manufacturing processes.
As a result, the innovation consists of integrating electronics, carrier structure and surface design within a component or a module, whose surface is designed with decorative In-mold labeling, whereby deeper layers (sandwich) include the carrier and electronic functions.