Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
Nissan researchers want to build a car with a human touch.
Touch the pad of your finger. Where the fingerprint is. Soft, huh? But firm, too. And what an unmistakably subtle texture!
Would that make a great car seat or what?
That may seem like a non sequitur to you, but to the researchers at Japanese automaker Nissan who design delightful synthetic interiors, it makes perfect sense. People like the feel of a human finger, so why not make car seats feel like fingers?
This information emerges via Jalopnik writer Jason Torchinksy, who visited the Nissan Advanced Technology Seminar in Yokohama last week. Torchinsky, after seeing graphs that show how Nissan's new materials come closer to approximating "fingerness" (my word), relates that it's not all about softness and resistance to pressure:
Their research has found that surface ridges or other patterns are perceived to be most preferable when their scale most closely approximates the scale of the ridges of a human fingerprint. So, at least as far as tactile characteristics, Nissan actually is seeking to replicate human finger skin, and then cover almost every surface inside of a car in it.