White paper about matrix LED usage from Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. (ISSI). Link here (PDF)
People today come in contact with a wide range of consumer electronics (CE) devices in their daily lives. CE devices have become increasingly complex with added functionality enabled by MCU’s which provide the intelligence for automating functions. Control panels used in appliances and other equipment leverage MCUs and several integrated circuits to enable functions, such as sensing, process control and user interface (UI).
The user interface consists of input controls, visual and audio feedback used to configure the product to perform complex tasks. An aesthetically pleasing UI is a major differentiating feature for home appliances such as ovens, washing machines and refrigerators. Home appliance UIs commonly use capacitive or inductive touch sensing to provide an easy to clean interface unmatched by mechanical buttons. In addition to touch sensing, a UI has to provide audio and visual feedback in response to the user selection. The UI may not be the most important factor in determining the commercial success of CE devices. However, once parity is established on the major functions such as washing capacity, energy efficiency, etc, the UI becomes a key differentiator. Today, parity has been established on most of the important factors making the UI a product differentiating factor.
As the trend continues to move away from purely mechanical switches to a fully electronic interface expect to see demand for LEDs and drivers to continue increasing.