Displays add layers to provide more data

  • 23-Jan-2012 08:19 EST

Johnson Controls’ 3D display concept provides more information by making important icons stand out.

The drive to provide vehicle owners with more information that’s easy to understand is prompting display providers to unveil products that offer more depth of field than conventional units. Taking vastly dissimilar approaches aimed at different applications, Johnson Controls and TRW Automotive recently demonstrated displays designed for instrument clusters and keypad entry.

Johnson Controls showed a concept display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, while TRW unveiled its compact keypad early this year. Both aim to give users more information without increasing the amount of space needed for displays.

The Johnson Controls display layers images on the instrument cluster so it’s easier for drivers to quickly see and understand the important factors such as when the vehicle in front of them is too close. TRW’s keypad entry display adds more functions to keypads now used to unlock doors using a security code.

The TRW multigraphic rear projection display shows different symbols on a surface in the same physical space at different times. For example, a keypad entry system with multigraphic display option could normally display numbers for punching in the entry code, but the keypad also lets users control functions such as trunk access, interior lights, and power windows.

Johnson Controls Multilayer Instrument Cluster uses a multilayer thin film transistor (TFT) LCD screen that uses multiple layers to make the most critical icons appear brighter and closer. The company said multilayer displays are becoming available, making it possible for the technology to be ready for model year 2016 vehicles.

The displays are not unique; it’s our algorithms that really make this possible,” said Bob Vallance, General Manager of Electronic Product Development Initiatives for Johnson Controls. “The goal is not to create graphics that bring more pizazz but to make the images even more intuitive.”

For example, a navigation icon could move to the foreground when it’s time to turn, or alerts from driver assistance systems could pop up in a large, highlighted image when alerts are necessary.

“It’s one more way to help the driver glean a little more from the instrument cluster while glancing down from the roadway for the shortest time possible,” Vallance said. “It’s another way to call attention to something important.”

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