Good Vibrations - A two dimensional display for tactile communication in the car seat

The work aimed at developing knowledge about the possibilities to use haptic feedback to warn and / or inform the driver in different contexts. The objectives were to evaluate which applications might be suitable for a haptic interface as well as to examine whether and how people perceive and react to the haptic information, more specifically vibration. The result is both a prototype sketch of a two-dimensional tactile interface or display to be used in the car seat and data about the applicability and acceptance of user testing. As a first step, an overview car cockpit trends, previous studies of haptic interfaces in a car context, and a survey of secondary data that could be relevant were completed. An evaluation of existing technologies (tactors) for transmitting tactile information led to the decision regarding the position of the interface in the car cockpit. A two dimensional patterns for the array of eight contactors were developed in order to maximize the contact surface with the user and allow information about direction. Then a prototype was created for use in experimental studies. Based on the chosen secondary tasks, two experiments were completed in a simulated car environment to determine appropriate levels of vibration with regard to comfort and spatial recognition. Data on participants' acceptance of vibration in the car seat as well as their suggested applications for the technology was also collected. Based on the experimental studies and the collected qualitative and quantitative data is considered possible to use a haptic interface in the car seat. Spatial identification of individual vibration signals is better than the double ones, however, there is a need for further studies of variable vibration patterns. Further development of the tactors' positions along the sides of the seat is also needed. Acceptance of the selected vibration intensity is between 87.5 and 100% for individual motors.

Johan Modin, Torin Williams
Publication type
Year of publication

Safer – Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre

SAFER is the open innovation arena where researchers and expertise work together to create safe mobility. Our traffic safety approach covers people, vehicles and the infrastructure – and together we contribute to safer road transports and smarter, more sustainable cities.

Contact information


Lindholmspiren 3A
SE-417 56 Göteborg

 +46 31-772 21 06
 safer [at]