Smart Surfaces for Smart Homes – Innovation brought to life by IMSE®

Smart Surfaces for Smart Homes – Innovation brought to life by IMSE®

A guest blog post by Daniel Gustafsson from the design agency Aivan. Daniel is an industrial designer who has studied in London and got his masters from Aalto University in Helsinki. He currently lives in Turku.

The pandemic years have influenced our working behavior, and home environments are our new offices. With living and working spaces becoming one, the need for smart technology is increasing, and new areas and means of implementation are explored.

While the first article of our smart home series looked at global trends in smart homes, we now want to approach the topic on a really practical level by introducing use cases for IMSE® (in-mold structural electronics) in a smart home environment.

Interaction and Communication between Devices and People

The Smart Home concept is developed around the idea of extended interaction and communication between devices and people in the home environment. Using IMSE technology, new areas and functions pertaining to the growing market for home and remote office spaces are being explored. This growth in remote work creates new and interesting requirements for the home environment.

Using Scandinavian interior design as inspiration, this concept is challenged by the increased need for technological solutions in the home environment, as well as the desire of the public to move toward simple functions and aesthetics. These seemingly contradictive drivers led to a design that aims to seamlessly blend in both visually and functionally through simple and understandable user interfaces and fully integrated controls.

Use Case Coffee Machine

A modern, fully equipped coffee machine using identification and personalized presets gives each user what they like quickly and easily. The continuous wood panel is equipped with IMSE control functions and lighting. This saves material as well as significantly simplifies repairs.

Use Case Headphones

The curvature of the headphones is optimized for non-visual user interaction while maintaining a light and modern outlook using transparent materials and light metallic coating. This interface would be highly challenging to create using conventional electronics. Integrated LEDs are used to communicate both with users and people around.


Use Case Room Access

Mounted on the glass to perfectly blend in, this small room access unit allows the remote worker some privacy and peace of mind. With a range of technological possibilities, this unit could be tailored to suit multiple settings, including public spaces such as lobbies or lounges, VIP areas, and more.

Use Case Room Control

These control devices allow the user to quickly and easily control their environment. With a small informative display and configurable layout, there is no limit to the possible control options, such as curtains, temperature, humidity, airflow, and lighting. Ambient rim lights allow users to find the devices in poorly lit rooms.

The device family is used for multiple configurations and methods of implementation.

  • Ambient light for finding devices in low light.
  • Proximity sensors change the light from ambient to UI, thus keeping the outlook minimal.
  • IMSE technology allows the devices to be integrated or “hovering” on walls or glass.
  • Screens available for displaying information (temperature, system settings, humidity, volume).


Use Case Lounge Chair

This lounge chair is intended to allow the user to control any number of systems in the vicinity, using the MESA Controller and some preset “mode” settings. The chair is ideal for the home environment but could easily be configured for public spaces. The slim, curved leather armrests embed the UI discretely, bringing modern and “techy” together. This lounge chair offers a functional and comfortable alternative seating set-up for a remote worker.

  • Super thin and ergonomic armrest
  • Integrated power & USB charging ports
  • Intuitive HMI with the Mesa Controller

More Design Freedom with IMSE

This conceptual range of products shows some of the many possibilities available through the IMSE process. Restrictions often guide the design process to maintain feasibility when reaching the productization and manufacture phases. Many of those restrictions change when designing with IMSE technology in mind, and it allows for a higher level of freedom both in form and functional attributes. 

Want to learn more?

Download our webinar recording "Smarter Surfaces for Smart Homes".

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Daniel Gustafsson
Daniel Gustafsson
Industrial Designer, Aivan Oy
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