The "Milastomer" artificial leather which the company demonstrated at Yokohama’s Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019 last May, offers long-term durability, abrasion resistance, scratch resistance and luster, yet it transmits light and could display an image projected beneath its surface.
To show this capability, Mitsui Chemicals prototyped two interior parts, one of an armrest, and one of a dashboard providing dynamic information with characters and logos lit from under using a micro-projector.
The Milastomer thermoplastic elastomer is a blend of polypropylene and olefin-based rubber, so it can be tailored for elasticity, touch and durability. The armrest co-developed with Osaka-based Arm consisted of a touch panel stacked over a transparent urethane structure covering a small projector, the whole armrest assembly being covered with the new artificial leather.
When the display is turned off, the armrest’s surface just looks like normal leather, matching the look of the car’s seats. When lit, the small projector shines an interactive interface through the artificial leather for different car controls such as air conditioning, audio selection, diagnostics etc…
Similarly, other parts of a car’s cockpit typically covered with artificial leather could become interactive surfaces, providing a small projector can be integrated behind the new skin.
Mitsui Chemicals - www.mitsuichemicals.com