Magic Spray Turns, Well, Anything Into a Touch Controller

The world is your ... joystick?

May 9, 2017 9:00 am

Play your cards right, and that coffee mug on your desk will control the whole office.

That’s the loose idea behind Electrick, a new technology from Carnegie Mellon’s Future Interfaces Group that allows you to spray a conductive coating onto pretty much any surface and create a controller. And not just flat surfaces, but “irregular and complex geometries” (think anything from a steering wheel to a toy to, yes, that coffee mug).

Once you attach sensing electrodes to your surface of choice, the sprayed-on device will be able to measure voltage from your fingertips and track their movement. Ergo, touch control. Once paired with a software algorithm, you can assign those movements if-this, then-that commands to carry out whatever you task you’d like.

Some examples FIG suggested: a wall’s lights dimming when you swipe your hand across it, or a desk that interacts with your computer. Readers of The Verge also submitted a few good suggestion, including controlling a TV from a sofa arm or one of those “Looney Tunes spray-on tunnel(s).” Let us know how that works.

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