“This patent recognizes a key innovation for IMSE technology—employing the plastic material that is the structure of a part as a light guide,” said Antti Keränen, TactoTek CTO and co-founder. “Using this technique, we can create very bright, evenly distributed illumination within structures as thin as 2 millimeters.”
For illumination, traditional electronics designs typically include a cosmetic surface structure and use a separate light pipe structure to direct lighting to the surface from a flat, rigid printed circuit board (PCB). In comparison, TactoTek IMSE solutions consolidate printed electronics and light emitting diodes (LEDs), within the 3D molded plastic part and use the plastics themselves to conduct light.
“By using the molding material of a cosmetic surface as a light guide, TactoTek IMSE technology removes design constraints that have prescribed thick, multi-part assemblies,” noted Hasse Sinivaara, head of product management, “and as we remove parts, we remove design time, weight and minimize electrical and mechanical assembly—very appealing when considering form factor innovation and total cost of ownership (TCO).”
TactoTek’s solutions can integrate printed electronics, such as circuitry, touch controls and antennas, and discrete electronic components, such as LEDs and ICs, into light, 3D injection molded plastics as thin as 2mm. By incorporating circuitry and electronics directly into plastic structures, TactoTek enables brands to design innovative form factors and consolidate electronics into a single 3D structure.