Origo Steering Wheel

Award-Winning Origo Steering Wheel Concept Is All Thumbs

Concept steering wheel, developed by a Finnish automotive consortium, named winner for excellent product design – Human Machine Interface

HELSINKI, VANTAA and OULU Finland, September 15, 2020 – The Origo steering wheel concept has been recognized by the German Design Council for its exceptional design quality. The project was chosen as the winner in the Excellent Product Design – Human Machine Interface category. The German Design Awards are one of the most renowned design competitions in the world. High standards are ensured by an international jury recognizing only projects which truly represent pioneering contributions to the German and international design landscape. The Origo steering wheel was developed within the Finnish automotive ecosystem, in collaboration between Canatu, Siili Auto, TactoTek®, Rightware and Northern Works as part of the multimodal in-vehicle interaction and intelligent information presentation project ( MIVI).

“We are all proud that this new jointly developed HMI solution has aroused great interest and received such a prestigious award. The Origo steering wheel shows the value of reinventing user experiences by incorporating inspired design, innovative 3D touch surfaces and cutting-edge software. With the new Origo steering wheel, the driver can manage all key functions with just the thumbs without letting go of the steering wheel, minimizing distractions and improving safety. By tailoring the strengths of the interaction models from mobile devices to driver controls, this team of Finnish companies has developed a solution that delivers convenience, style and safety, ”said Juha Kokkonen, CEO of Canatu Oy.

Transparent three-dimensional touch surfaces allow intuitive HMI and enhance design freedom. Only relevant information is displayed on the screen at all times to avoid overstimulation.

“The original idea for the Origo steering wheel was to challenge the status quo of the existing steering wheel HMI and not just take the easy route of converting analog controls to digital versions. Our lives became cluttered with information and overloaded with choice, so we wanted to provide the driver with clarity with our steering wheel concept and reduce functions and controls to the bare essentials, ”said Miika Heikkinen, chief designer, Northern Works.

“One way to overcome fear of the new is to make it look familiar. Nowhere is this more true than in a car’s user interface, and the Origo concept does a great job of incorporating new interactions in a familiar context, ”said Väinö Leskinen, CEO of Siili Auto Oy.

When designing a minimalist and intuitive HMI, the team wanted the physical shapes to be expressive, supporting the use of controls, something that is often lacking in today’s touchscreens and capacitive controls. Origo’s final design perfectly aligns the physical controls with the digital user interface, creating an intuitive and exciting user experience unlike anything seen on cars before.

The German Design Awards Board advances the design-driven landscape by identifying unique design trends and rewarding top entries in three main categories: “Excellent Product Design”, “Excellent Communications Design” and “Excellent Architecture” . The 2021 competition attracted a total of 4,172 project submissions from 60 countries, and the international jury awarded 955 participants with Special Mention, 362 with Winner and 67 with Gold in 71 subcategories. The winners will receive their awards at the official award ceremony on February 19, 2021, at Ambiente 2021 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The consortium partners all brought their unique expertise to the project:

Canatu provides its transparent 3D touch surfaces integrated on the steering wheel fenders allowing design freedom and an intuitive user experience.

Siili Auto designs and implements the user interface (UI) of the smart steering wheel. The user interface and the physical form of the steering wheel and the innovative controls are perfectly integrated into a unique user experience.

Rightware provides its market-leading HMI software tools, including Kanzi UI, Kanzi Connect and Kanzi Maps, to enable the rapid design, prototyping and development of intuitive interaction models for this new concept.

TactoTek® applies its Injection Molded Structural Electronics (IMSE ™) technology to design and produce intelligent surfaces including circuitry, touch controls and lighting in 3D injection molded designs.

Northern Works is the design provider for the project responsible for industrial design.

For more information on the Origo Steering Wheel concept, please consult this animation and contact the founding members of the Canatu consortium, Siili Auto, TactoTek or Rightware.

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