CEVT’s car windows have touch and sound

What functions can a car’s transparent surfaces have, except for just being transparent? That’s what the automotive developer CEVT and the digitalisation agency Zenta wanted to find out. They tested and developed unique prototypes with both sound and visual functions.

The two companies met for the first time at Elmia Subcontractor 2017, at Zenta’s stand.

“We started talking and they said ‘you sound like people we could use’ and so we invited their innovation director and a colleague to our office in Växjö. They were sceptical at first. How could a company in a basement in Växjö be able to create innovation? But after we showed them our ideas, the collaboration was a fact,” says Zenta’s CEO, Bennie Forss. 

Impressed with a demo

Zenta’s first demo and fast development work impressed the people at CEVT. Their collaboration resulted in a prototype with smart windows, partly inspired by space technology, which will be exhibited at Subcontractor IoT Arena. 

Windows with smart functions

The prototype consists of two car doors whose windows are used as loudspeaker membranes. The sound comes directly from the car window through a vibration speaker. This saves space and makes it possible to add new applications, such as noise reduction. The windows are also laminated with a crystal film that can increase and reduce their transparency.

“If you’re sitting in the back seat of a car and looking out, you won’t see through this window. Then you can pinch two fingers together just like when you zoom in on your smartphone. This opens up the transparency and you can see out,” Forss explains, adding that one of the windows has an integrated small transparent LED display with icons that show where to pinch.

Simple technology

Other companies have had similar ideas before but no one else has taken the whole concept farther than the drawing board stage. Zenta wanted to build an actual prototype in order to test how it feels to sit in a car with this technology. Forss says this type of development doesn’t have to be as expensive as people might think.

“You can achieve a lot by creating new things with existing technology,” he says. “In this case, we actually used mostly simple technology from one of the big electronics retail chains, apart from the crystal in the window, which comes from a research institute.”

Continued collaboration

Today Zenta has a framework agreement with CEVT and is their preferred partner for extreme prototyping. Together they are exploring new possibilities in cyber security and new kinds of prototypes.