13 February 1990 Optical Control Panel For Automotive Applications
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This paper describes a new type of optical control panel that eliminates any electrical contacts and mechanically moving parts. It has potential for low cost, improved reliability, and diagnosability. In its simplest form, the control panel consists of an optically lossy plastic strip that is illuminated from the back side, and that runs parallel to a segmented screen on the front side. Each of the backlit segments acts as a switch. Normally all switches are in the OFF mode. OFF to ON switching is obtained by bringing a finger or reflector close to a segment so as to reflect and couple light into the strip. The back-coupled light divides into two guided waves that attenuate as they propagate towards the extremities of the strip. Two photodetectors detect these attenuated signals. Switch position is inferred from the ratio of the two detected signals. Three early prototypes were tested, each consisting of seven 5 by 15 millimeter switching segments. In all three cases, switch position was inferred without any ambiguity. This type of optical control panel is easy to incorporate in a display.
© (1990) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Michel F. Sultan, Michel F. Sultan, Michael J. O'Rourke, Michael J. O'Rourke, } "Optical Control Panel For Automotive Applications", Proc. SPIE 1173, Fiber Optic Systems for Mobile Platforms III, (13 February 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.963209; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.963209

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