Is BMW Working on Transparent Armrests?

A recent patent reveals a new approach to the storage space inside a BMW. According to CarBuzz, the patent was filed for an interior storage space with a cover which can go from transparent to non-transparent. Think about the opaque technology used in the BMW iX. The single-piece transparent glass roof spans the entire interior featuring the PDLC (Polymer Dispersed Liquid Crystal) technology for shading the interior. The panoramic glass roof’s transparency is altered by applying a voltage to the middle layer of film. The roof can go from transparent to translucent, to opaque in a matter of seconds with the push of a button.

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But according to the filing, the futuristic storage space is actually using the new e-ink technology which was previewed on the BMW iX Flow. BMW believes that there are several advantages to this particular tech. First and foremost, the driver and passengers can quickly see what’s inside the armrest compartment, so that goes hand-in-hand with BMW’s approach to “shy tech.”

Of course, when the car is parked, the armrest’s “glass” can go opaque to hide any valuable belongings from prying eyes. So there are particular advantages to having this tech inside your BMW. Yet, as always, these filings are quite common and not all transfer to a production series vehicle.

One thing is certain though: BMW plans to further explore the e-ink technology which made waves earlier this year at the 2022 CES. In a recent interview with Stella Clarke, Project Lead BMW iX Flow, we learned that the company is already working on the next generation of e-ink BMW cars which could possible bring new colors as well. For now, the BMW iX Flow can only shift through shades of white, grey, and black.

Naturally, the e-ink tech can be applied in other areas as well, especially inside the cabin. This particular application could allow the driver to change several panels inside the car to suit their mood, something that BMW is already exploring today with the ambient light and the new Interaction Bar.

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