rotary input devices magic knob Robotic Header Panasonic Industry

Magic Knob™

Capacitive rotary knob operatable on standard touch sensor with glove

Why capacitive knobs?

Rotary input devices magic knob PR Panasonic Industry

Until now, the mainstream of devices integrated for vehicle air conditioning and volume controls are mechanical switches and rotary knobs that provide mechanical feel in order to provide the certainty of operation. In recent years, differentiation by interior design is becoming more popular, and an increasing number of vehicles are adopting flat capacitive touch switches for their interiors for seamless and high design.

As various operation devices are being studied to achieve both “reliable operability” and “high design“, the need to combine an electrostatic touch switch and a rotary knob has emerged.

Furthermore, in automotive displays such as car navigation systems, there are need to place mechanical knobs directly on the display for space restrictions due to the increase in screen / display sizes.

Expecting adoption of a capacitive knob that can operate on a capacitive touch display will provide both operability and design.

rotary input devices magic knob why capacitive knobs

Panasonic‘s proprietary capacitive knob “Magic Knob™”

rotary input devices magic knob application knob on woody dashboard Panasonic Industry

For capacitive knobs, “rotating method” is commonly used in which the electrodes on the bottom  (so-called pseudo fingers) rotate as the knob rotates. This method can be used on a touch sensor with a standard pattern, but may cause problems such as kob becomes large in order to secure the adhesive area to rotate electrode on the bottom. In addition, hands are normally used as the GND which became constraints not be able to operate with gloves on.

Our capacitive knob named “Magic Knob™” solves the problem of adhesive area by combining a dedicated pattern on the touch sensor and electrodes fixed on the bottom, enabling the knob to have a smaller diameter (the smallest in the industry *according to our research). In addition, this method does not use the operator's hand as GND, which enable operations with gloves on become possible.

Magic Knob™ provides a new interface for air conditioning and acoustic control panels, which requires small diameter and simple operation.

magic knob comparison competitor vs panasonic

MPMK, a unique drive system developed jointly with Microchip

Since our conventional Magic Knob™ requires a dedicated sensor pattern, there are some design restrictions such as inactive areas appearing depending on the placement position for display applications. “Microchip Panasonic Magic Knob™ (MPMK), a capacitive knob that enables standard pattern drive and direct output of rotation data by incorporating a unique drive system jointly developed with Microchip.

Magic Knob™ have advantages (high reliability, smaller knob diameter, and glove support), while eliminating touch areas and design restrictions, enabling Magic Knob™ to be placed anywhere on the display.

Magic Knob (Conventional) Magic Knob (MPMK)
  • Smaller knob diameter
  • Glove operation enabled
  • Smaller knob diameter
  • Glove operation enabled
  • Better design flexibility
MPMK, a unique drive system developed jointly with Microchip

Unique ring push mechanism

Our unique “Ring Push Mechanism” provides a natural and new operability that allows you to get the same mechanical feeling no matter where you press.

Also our long time customer support history and know–how providing rotary encoder / tactile switch enable us to meet any customers' rotation and push feel.

Unique ring push mechanism of the magic knob

Feature comparison

Method Rotation method
of other company
Magic Knob™
(Conventional method)
Magic Knob™
  Mainly for non-display applications
Mainly for display applications
Configuration Configuration






Touch operation multi-touch single touch multi-touch
IC General Touch IC General Touch IC Microchip “maXTouch®” *
MK Series
Adhesion bad good good
Waterproof and
bad good good
Exterior knob Need conductive material Plastic OK Plastic OK
Glove operation No Yes Yes
Ring push mechanism None Yes Yes

*maXTouch® is a registered trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. 

Set configuration of the magic knob

Knob specifications (Knob body)

Type Magic Knob™
(Conventional method)
Magic Knob™
Magic Knob™
(Conventional Small Diameter Type)
Magic Knob™
(MPMK Small Diameter Type)
Outer Diameter Φ52mm*1 Φ52mm*1 Φ26mm*1 Φ26mm*1
Inner Diameter Φ34mm*1 Φ34mm*1 Φ10mm*1 Φ10mm*1
Height 9.0mm*1 9.0mm*1 8.5mm*1 8.8mm*1
Detent Number 32 32 20 20
Ring push Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rotational torque 25 mN/m ± 30% 25 mN/m ± 30% 12 mN/m ± 30% 12 mN/m ± 30%
Stroke Amount 0.4~1.2mm 0.4~1.2mm 0.15~1.2mm 0.15~1.2mm
SW operating force 2~6.5N 2~6.5N 2~6.5N 2~6.5N
Sample situation Yes Yes Yes Yes

*1: Reference size. Use as an approximate guide. We can discuss the size according to your request.


Name File type Size Date Language
PDF Magic knob Leaflet 962KB English
Press release

Find out more information

Magic Knob Teaser Panasonic Industry
News | New product introductions
New Microchip Panasonic Magic Knob™ is ready for standard touch sensors
Where touch comfort meets smart haptics: New Microchip Panasonic Magic Knob™ for standard touch sensors in automotive Center Information Displays