In an ideal world, consumers would be able to interface with any type of surface without any additional hardware required. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University may have found a solution that will make this all possible. Their new spray lets anyone spray touch controls on any object or surface. The use cases for such technology are virtually limitless, to say the least.
This story is quite intriguing to take note of, as it will change the way we interact with surfaces and objects in the future. Electrick, as this spray-based solution is called, will add touch controls to any object, regardless of its size, shape, or material. This is made possible thanks to a software algorithm that reads finger-based input by “reading” changes in the flow of electricity across conductive surfaces.
It is not the first time researchers look at a spray solution to add more functionality to objects and surfaces. A little while ago, we touched on spray-on memory, which achieves a somewhat similar goal. However, Electrick is a bit different, as all it does is provide touch controls to objects and surfaces, rather than retaining information of any kind.
Electrick has been shown off in a YouTube video, which can be found below this article. The concept of this spray is quite intriguing, as it can open a slew of new opportunities and possibilities. Although the use cases of this technology remain to be determined for the most part, there are some ideas that come to mind almost immediately.
One such use cases would see this spray being used as a way to replace phone cases. Or to be more precise, the material could be added to a regular smartphone case to provide additional functionality. A touch on the rear of the case could, for example, launch a social media app or a music player. Another example comes in the form of spraying this material on a guitar to add effect pedals on the object itself.
As mentioned before, the possibilities presented by Electrick are virtually limitless. Even household appliances and surfaces can benefit greatly from this solution. Using a wall to dim lights – rather than a switch – is one potential idea. A desk with a build-in spray-on keyboard may only be a matter of time. A lot of objects and surfaces can benefit from touch sensitive input, that much is evident.
For the time being, it remains to be seen when and if the Electrick spray will ever become available for purchase, though. Although the Carnegie Mellon University researchers are confident this solution works as advertised, it does not appear to be ready for mass consumption just yet. It gives our society something to look forward to, even if we may never be able to buy it in a store.
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