Human machine interfaces (HMI) have become an integral component in our daily lives. Whether you are familiar with them or not, chances are you use an HMI on a weekly or even daily basis. They are found in the cars we drive, the stores in which we shop, the restaurants at which we at, and even many workplaces. So, what kind of trends can you can expect to see in the HMI market in the years to follow?
Multi-touch HMI panels have become increasingly popular in recent years — a trend that industry analysts expect to continue. Multi-touch technology differs from capacitive touch in the sense that it uses the body’s electrical field to register the point of contact. Because they don’t rely on pressure, multi-touch HMIs typically offer a higher level of accuracy, durability, and overall life expectancy, making them the preferred choice for many work-related applications.
Furthermore, multi-touch technology lives up to its namesake by registering multiple points of touch simultaneously. Pinch-to-zoom, for instance, is classified as multi-touch, as it requires the operator to use two fingers. The advent of multi-touch HMIs opens the doors to a whole new world of possibilities regarding application.
Internet of Things
Many HMIs are also being integrated into the Internet of Things (IoT). Basically, this means they are interconnected with other computers, devices and machines. A worker may use an IoT HMI to input commands, which are then relayed to a computer system in another location. Having HMIs interconnected with other devices enhances their function while improving worker productivity. Rather than manually transferring information from one machine to another, IoT streamlines this process by having them interconnected.
Another trend that you can expect to see more of in the HMI industry is an emphasis on ergonomics. The term “ergonomics” refers to fitting a workstation or device to meet the unique needs of the worker. Poor ergonomics has been linked to a wide variety of adverse conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome, fatigue, back pain and more. Thankfully, manufacturers are beginning to design HMIs to be more ergonomic, contouring to the shape of the operator’s hand and/or body. Ergonomic HMIs offer numerous benefits, such as lower risk of injury, increased productivity, and greater worker satisfaction.