In-car Haptic knob for Toyota - Concept Design

Exploring the physical and digital worlds in cars.

Project brief

Exploratory concept I designed for client Toyota while working as Design Engineer at TU/e, along with fellow designer Vincent Van Rheden. An exploratory concept is presented in the project which builds upon the advantages of physical and digital worlds in cars. The user study, concept design and prototyping took in total 3 months. My primary responsibilities were to conduct user research, ideation and prototyping the digital interfaces.


Toyota Motor Europe


Automotive UX

Design Process

User Research
Concept Design


4 Months


Explore and exploit the qualities of physical and digital interaction in-car to create a user experience which is a result of a smooth blend between the physical and digital worlds. The targeted users are people who drive personal cars.

UX Process

Overview of the different UX processes involved in the project

User Research

User observation, think-aloud & semi-structured interviews were done with people commuting to and fro for work everyday.

Primary focus of the user study was to understand how users related to the different kinds of controls inside the car
Literature study / design inspiration study was also done during this phase


The following are the advantages and disadvantages we of physical and digital controls we identified during the study.

Literature study / design inspiration study was also done during this phase

Physical controls are generic buttons and does not carry any inherent meaning of their own. Furthermore additional physical space is required for adding new functionalities. Though it uses tactile memory instead of the vital visual primarily meant for driving.


The classical "Dfrogger framework" was used to analyze physical controls


For our concept design purpose we focused on the infotainment system of the car. Its is to be noticed that Infotainment system got completely digitized during it evolution.

Applying 80/20 rule on infotainment system's functionalities resulted in Music, Navigation and Phone controls

Ideation, Low-fi Prototyping & Feedback

Rigorous prototyping and usability testing was done. This helped us better understand how users haptically understood the different aspects of infotainment system.

All the initial ideas were made into low fidelity prototypes for evaluation

Final concept

We call our final concept "The One". Its a shape changing knob which provides haptic feedback for the infotainment functionalities.

The infotainment functionalities of the knob with their haptic representations