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Canatu: Award-winning smart surfaces for sleek interior design

04 January 2019 | by CDN Team


Canatu materials enable a wide range of transparent, 3D-shaped smart touch surfaces within vehicle interiors. As the automotive industry continues to evolve, complex new technologies are creating increased demand for Canatu’s unique user-interface capabilities

With Canatu CNB™, touch sensors can be discreetly added to a wide variety of surfaces, including displays, plastic, glass, leather and textiles. The ability to form transparent touch controls to fit complex shapes enables both an unobtrusive in-car experience as well as great design freedom. Surfaces can be made to reveal their ergonomic, intuitive functions only when needed. Canatu’s technology also directly answers the most significant criticism of touch-based interfaces.

Shaped, tactile surfaces allow the driver to locate and operate controls “blindly”, through touch and feel, rather than by drawing visual focus away from the road. This capability can dramatically decrease driver distraction and increase safety.

Working with its partners, Canatu has created a portfolio of different interior applications. These include, for example, an information console with 3D shapes layered over a digital display, a deco-printed centre console with matrix LED lights, giving a deep black appearance until lit, and a door panel with integrated displays and 3D touch controls.


Design, brand and material awards

Canatu’s technology has gained many design plaudits over the past year. In November 2018, the Canatu Cockpit concept won Gold in the automotive parts and accessories category of the 2019 German Design Awards. The jury said: “The futuristic looking Canatu Cockpit combines advanced technology with a highly elegant design that has been magnificently executed, from the cockpit’s dynamic lines to the intuitive user interface of the displays. The result: a superb controller-based function system featuring tactile feedback, sensors and high-quality materials – a design that is consistent down to the last detail, creating an intriguing user experience.”

In September, Canatu was named a winner in the Concept category of the 2018 Automotive Brand Contest, an event that aims to highlight outstanding product and communication design.

Then, in October, Canatu received a Silver award in the Surface & Technology category of the 2018 Materialica Design + Technology Awards, winning praise for its combination of intelligent material selection and expert engineering, as well as its high degree of innovation and convincing design.


Enabling autonomous driving with seamless heaters

Touch sensing is just one application of Canatu’s core technology. In 2019, Canatu will bring CNB™ Heaters to market – transparent, 3D surfaces that provide a unique heating capability. This innovative product is ideally suited to demisting the sensors that are vital for autonomous driving, which must be kept clear in all weather conditions. CNB™ Heaters can also rapidly clear frost or fog from LED lights and in the future may perform the same function across windshields and side windows.

Much like Canatu’s 3D touch-sensing technology, the heating film preserves optical clarity and can be integrated into a wide variety of surfaces, providing designers with great freedom in exterior design.