Artificial leather transmits display info

July 02, 2019 //By Julien Happich
Artificial leather
Japanese news outlet Nikkei xTech reported about a novel type of artificial leather from materials provider Mitsui Chemicals Inc, which could be used for automotive upholstery able to display information.

The "Milastomer" artificial leather which the company demonstrated at Yokohama’s Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019 last May, offers long-term durability, abrasion resistance, scratch resistance and luster, yet it transmits light and could display an image projected beneath its surface.

A control panel lights up through a leather-covered
armrest (source: Nikkei xTech)

To show this capability, Mitsui Chemicals prototyped two interior parts, one of an armrest, and one of a dashboard providing dynamic information with characters and logos lit from under using a micro-projector.

The Milastomer thermoplastic elastomer is a blend of polypropylene and olefin-based rubber, so it can be tailored for elasticity, touch and durability. The armrest co-developed with Osaka-based Arm consisted of a touch panel stacked over a transparent urethane structure covering a small projector, the whole armrest assembly being covered with the new artificial leather. When the display is turned off, the armrest’s surface just looks like normal leather, matching the look of the car’s seats. When lit, the small projector shines an interactive interface through the artificial leather for different car controls such as air conditioning, audio selection, diagnostics etc…

Dynamic characters and drawings shine through
the leathered surface of a cockpit element.
(source: Nikkei xTech)

Similarly, other parts of a car’s cockpit typically covered with artificial leather could become interactive surfaces, providing a small projector can be integrated behind the new skin.

Mitsui Chemicals -

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