LoPresti estimates that 10" diagonal in size is where the inflexion point starts for TanvasTouch to become compelling on a cost basis, versus vibrotactile haptics solutions.
"The bigger the screen, the more complicated it is to damp, let alone across curved surfaces. We have demonstrated a 15" display with Innolux, and because the technology is easily scalable, they will be able to combine multi-touch with haptics across their entire portfolio, including large curved displays. Because we are not vibrating the screen, we can deliver different haptics at different places of the screen".
At CES 2020, the company announced a partnership with display manufacturer Innolux to produce a 15” automotive-qualified touch display using TanvasTouch, its programmable textures and haptic effects on smooth physical surfaces. The company has engaged with several OEMs in the automotive space, its first focus market, where it found the most traction.
"We have already shipped pre-production prototypes to automotive OEMs to evaluate surface haptics in future vehicles. This is the plan we are pursuing today, because car makers have literally come to us to solve driver distraction issues around cockpit displays, they want to reduce glances and minimize the time a driver has his/her eyes off the road".
"There isn't a very strong pull from the consumer space such as the mobile phone. We want the market to evolve a bit more so OEMs know what they really want to do with such haptics. By the time we reach production volumes for the automotive market, we'll have a solution that fits better in form factor and cost wise for the consumer market. We are waiting for the market to catch up."
One consumer application LoPresti sees tangible for TanvasTouch is a foldable laptop with a full screen instead of the keypad. The technology is also applicable to other surfaces made of plastic or metal including soft surfaces such as track pads. Because it is software-driven, it does not require any tuning. This means the textures and haptic effects can be harmonized across size, shape and surface. In a car, this could be across the cockpit display but also on door handles, the steering wheel and upholstery.
Tanvas has completed a series A funding round of $12 millions and it plans to raise an additional $20 millions in 2020.
Tanvas – www.tanvas.co