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Living Wallpaper That Devices Can Relate To


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electronically enhanced wallpaper

MIT Media Lab's enhanced wallpaper is intended to demonstrate how existing technology can be used in innovative ways in materials and applications that are usually thought of as low tech.

Credit: Leah Buechley / MIT

The Living Wall project, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab researcher Leah Buechley, features an electronically enhanced wallpaper that can interact with other devices, including lamps, heaters, and music systems. The wallpaper uses magnetic and conductive paints to create circuitry in attractive designs.

Combining the wallpaper's circuits with inexpensive temperature, light, and touch sensors, light-emitting diodes, and Bluetooth capabilities turns the wallpaper into a control surface capable of communicating with nearby devices. For example, a user could touch a certain flower to turn on a lamp or adjust the room's temperature. "Our goal is to make technologies that users can build on and change without needing a lot of technical skill," Buechley says.

To create the electronic wallpaper, the researchers started with steel foil sandwiched between layers of paper coated with magnetic paint. Conductive paint was then used to create the wallpaper's visual motif as well as the circuits, which can be attached to sensors, lights, and other devices. The system runs at 20 volts, drawing approximately 2.5 amps when fully loaded with devices. "You can go up and touch the wall and not even feel a tingle," Buechley says.

She says the wallpaper is intended to demonstrate how existing technology can be used in innovative ways in materials and applications that are usually thought of as low tech.

From New Scientist
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