Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have created a new way to turn almost any surface into a touchpad with just a little conductive spray paint. The system, called Electrick, uses a technique called “electric field tomography.”
Created by CMU Ph.D. student Yang Zhang, Electrick uses small electrodes attached to the edges of a painted surface and it can turn wood, plastic, drywall, and even Jell-O and Play-Doh into a touch sensitive surface. They’ve successfully added touch sensitivity with positional control to toys, guitars, and walls.
“For the first time, we’ve been able to take a can of spray paint and put a touch screen on almost anything,” said assistant professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute, Chris Harrison.
From the report:
The creators envision tools like interactive walls and even an interactive smartphone case that can sense the position of a finger on the back surface and interact with apps on the phone. You can also add a protective coating to the paint to keep it from chipping off.
Zhang will show off the technology at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Denver.