Smart steering wheel for automotive, transportation applications

Hoffmann+Krippner Inc.'s SensoFoil sensing technology can measure sensitivity in addition to position and can trigger the correct safety protocol to either wake up the driver or to implement corrective measures.

By Hoffman+Krippner July 1, 2015

Hoffmann+Krippner Inc.’s SensoFoil sensing technology is able tomeasure sensitivity in addition to position, which allows car and vehicle manufacturers to add an extra level of safety to steering wheels. During normal driving, the operator is constantly moving their hands on the steering wheel, changing pressure as the fingers grip the wheel. SensoFoil allows the vehicle to sense if the driver’s hands are no longer moving-if the operator has fallen asleep with their hands on the wheel or if their hands are no longer on the wheel. This can trigger the correct safety protocol to either wake up the driver or to implement corrective measures such as having the car drive to the nearest medical center or alert nearby authorities if the driver has suffered a serious medical ailment like a heart attack.

The SensoFoil sensor operates as a resistive system based on layered foil and ink technology. Pressure applied to the steering wheel creates a short between the layers that allows the signal to be read. The resistive sensor element is less than a millimeter thick and can be mounted under the leather inside the system. The sensor and heater uses the 2-in-1 principle and measures hand activity and history as well as adapt to environmental situations like hot and cold. The sensor can also be programmed for pressure in certain locations. This can be used in a vehicle to control various location, emergency, entertainment or communication systems. This same feature can be used in game controllers and aircraft and other applications as al way to add additional programmable capabilities to a controller or joystick without the need for extra buttons or dials. 


– Edited by CFE Media. See more Control Engineering discrete sensor and vision products.