Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit:

MIT project turns spray paint into a functional user interface

It's graffiti that's useful.
426 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

MIT

Scientists from MIT have developed a way to create interactive surfaces using airbrushed inks -- or in other words, graffiti that actually does stuff. The SprayableTech system lets users create room-sized interactive graphics with sensors and displays that can be applied to everything from walls to furniture. Spray-painted art on walls can be used to turn lights on and off, for example, while designs airbrushed onto the arm of a couch can be used to control a TV.

After designing the interactive artwork with a 3D editor, the system generates stencils for airbrushing the layout onto a surface. Then a series of inks are applied -- conductive copper ink, paint, dielectric, phosphor, copper bus and a clear conductor -- and then a microcontroller is attached, connecting the interface to a board that runs the code for sensing and output.

The system hinges largely on the stencil design phase, to ensure the inks are placed in the right places and can connect to the microcontroller properly, so at this stage there's not much opportunity for spontaneous exploration -- you couldn't just spray a design on the wall and expect it to control your lights, for example. But the team is now working on creating modular stencils, potentially allowing users to try the system at home without needing to use a 3D editor or cut out stencils themselves.

And looking ahead, the team has even bigger plans. Michael Wessely, lead author on the paper about SprayableTech, says, "We view this as a tool that will allow humans to interact with and use their environment in newfound ways. In the future, we aim to collaborate with graffiti artists and architects to explore the future potential for large-scale user interfaces in enabling the internet of things for smart cities and interactive homes."

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
426 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Amazon has eliminated single-use plastic at its Indian fulfilment centers

Amazon has eliminated single-use plastic at its Indian fulfilment centers

View
Probe of failed Boeing Starliner launch finds a long list of problems

Probe of failed Boeing Starliner launch finds a long list of problems

View
Ninja's return to streaming on YouTube shows he still has star power

Ninja's return to streaming on YouTube shows he still has star power

View
The best laptops to use for schoolwork and gaming

The best laptops to use for schoolwork and gaming

View
Potential NASA mission would explore Neptune's moon Triton

Potential NASA mission would explore Neptune's moon Triton

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr