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The Living Wall Project: Interactive Wallpaper

10.30.09   |   Posted in: Art & Design, Tech   |   By: Kellis Landrum
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Lisa-Buechley-living-wallIf your phone can have a touch screen with out actual buttons, why can’t your house do the same? The Living Wall project, led by Lisa Buechley at the MIT’s Media Lab uses conductive paint in wall paper. This allows for a flexible surface that can be used as a touch sensor and could control almost anything electronic via bluetooth (albeit within a certain distance). In the image above, LED circuitry is incorporated into the material and conductive paint stenciled as a design motif produce light directly from the surface.

From New Scientists interview with Lisa Buechley
“Our goal is to make technologies that users can build on and change without needing a lot of technical skill,” says Buechley.
To create the wallpaper, the team started with steel foil sandwiched between layers of paper that are coated with magnetic paint – acrylic paint infused with iron particles. Over this base they paint motifs such as flowers and vines using conductive paint, which uses copper particles rather than iron. The designs form circuits to which sensors, lights and other elements can be attached.
“It really is just a sheet of paper, and could be produced with existing printing and construction methods,” Buechley says.
Having exposed circuitry on your wall might sound dangerous, but Buechley says the system runs at 20 volts, drawing around 2.5 amps when fully loaded with devices. “You can go up and touch the wall and not even feel a tingle,” she says.

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