BMW To Debut HoloActive Touch Floating In-Car Virtual Touch Screen At CES 2017

No, you haven’t joined the Avengers or boarded the USS Enterprise. Real-life holography is coming to consumers very soon. BMW will debut its HoloActive Touch floating in-car virtual touch screen at CES 2017.

The HoloActive Touch is a free-floating, touch sensitive display that shows drivers information such as music and navigation. The display is located to the right of the driver’s steering wheel and is operated by using finger gestures. A camera detects the driver’s hand movements and registers where the fingers are positioned. A pulse is emitted and the function of the “button” is performed, once the fingers make contact with the virtual control surfaces. The driver does not interact with any physical material, however, the display does confirm commands with what the driver perceives as tactile feedback.


It is uncertain, but possible, that this technology has been sourced from Ultraphatics. The company uses ultrasonic waves in order to provide tactile feedback for intangible items. Ultraphatics works to let drivers “know their gesture has been received, without taking their eyes off the road.”

HoloActive Touch is BMW’s latest step on its road to holography. This past year, BMW introduced AirTouch, which allows users to control navigation, infotainment, and communications features with movement of their hand. The i8 Spyder Concept incorporated AirTouch as well as autonomous driving functionalities.

bmw headquarters

The AirTouch, however, still involved a physical screen and the movement from a driver’s entire hand. HoloActive Touch is an entirely virtual concept and requires the movement of only one finger. HoloActive Touch is also an improvement upon the BMW’s Head-Up Display. The Head-Up Display spanned the driver’s entire field of view in order to provide a more immersive experience. The Holoactive Touch is smaller and relegated to the side of the steering wheel. This experience should hopefully be less distracting and therefore safer.

HoloActive touch will debut at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 5th to January 8th, 2017.