Magic Spray Turns, Well, Anything Into a Touch Controller

The world is your ... joystick?

By Kirk Miller

Share This

09 May 2017

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.

Share This