In many ways, modern life has been defined by the large and small appliance in the home. From the first refrigerators to dishwashers, microwave ovens, coffee makers and more we have come to depend on these machines to live our lives. And the buttons and switches on these machines are among the most familiar “human-machine-interfaces” (HMI) we experience every day.
It is somewhat ironic that today’s “buttons and switches” are simple extensions of the dials and levers used to control so much of the mechanization brought to us during the Industrial Revolution. Little has changed except for their size and ease of activation, but, for the most part we continue to activate and deactivate the “machines” we use every day with buttons and switches. The iPhone has, however begun to “change all that”.
This not only revolutionized the telecommunications industry, it changed the way people expect to command a machine.
Next generation appliances and small electric devices will use similar "touch buttons and sliders" to activate their functions, even if the basis functionality of the machine remains the same. The next generation materials that enable this functionality will not only make them easier to use, they will make them much more appealing to end users!