The evolution of how humans interact with equipment or physical objects has drastically changed in the last decade. In the late twentieth century, when we had wired telephones on our desks, the telephone would ring (and possibly flash a light), and then we would reach over and pick up the receiver. The simple act of picking up the receiver did several things: it stopped the ringing; it connected us to the caller; it informed the caller that you have picked up the receiver, and the call was ready to go, and you say ‘hello.’ That is one of the many early classic forms of interaction with equipment.
In this millennium, we have advanced to a new way of interacting with equipment. When the cell phone starts ringing or singing, we find it, pick it up, authenticate with a fingerprint, look at the display, swipe or touch in the correct place on the device, and then visually check to ensure that you have done all of the steps correctly. Hopefully, in the process of pulling the cell phone out of the purse or pocket, the user didn’t touch the wrong portion of the screen and disconnect the call. So the design of a simple yet sophisticated human-machine interface has become a true challenge.
There is a beautiful simplicity to pressing a mechanical on-off switch, feeling and hearing the satisfying click as the switch responds, and then seeing a light come on or other indication that the equipment is powering up. But it is limited in providing feedback data and being connected to a larger smart system. As more and more new pieces of equipment are invented, how can we preserve that simplicity in the user interface while providing useful and sophisticated functionalities?
Infineon CAPSENSE™ & MagSense™ sensing technologies can be used to detect the position or motion of many items – from fingertips to metal plates, and thus replace mechanical switches and position sensors in many consumer, commercial, and industrial products. These technologies have redefined “interaction” in millions of products since their initial introduction into the market and we believe there is more to unfold.
We are looking for innovators with great ideas on how to leverage these technologies to propel the vision of “interaction,” which includes motion, lights, audio, and displays. How would you swap out traditional mechanical buttons and switches as inputs for something better?
Join our “Propel Human-Machine Interactions into the Future” design challenge for a chance to win free development kits and up to $3,000 in prizes.