A team of scientists from Carnegie Mellon University decided to make it easier for us to use touchscreen devices, so they invented a method to make any surface touch-sensitive. The method consists of Electrick, a spray paint which conducts electricity and makes almost everything work like a touchscreen.
How does a touchscreen work?
The screen of such devices conduct a small electrical charge. Every time you touch it, this electrical charge is interrupted. Then, the device is able to say where the electricity has been interrupted and identify the exact place where you touched it. However, the Carnegie Mellon scientists decided to invent a method which uses the same technology, so they created Electrick.
Modifying spray paint to conduct electricity
They decided to apply conductive spray paint to regular object and make them touch-friendly. This material conducts electricity, but not enough so that the one who touches it should be electrocuted. Also, a series of electrodes applied to the surface can detect when there is a change in the smooth electrical field and tell where you’ve touched it. The entire process is described in a study.
Researchers took aerosol paint which is usually used against static electricity buildup. Then, they made it work like a touchscreen via electric field tomography. It sends electricity through two electrodes, and then records the touch by using the others. However, the accuracy of this technique is of around a centimeter, so it doesn’t work as perfectly as touchscreen yet.
What is amazing about this method is the fact that it can turn any kind of surface into something touch-sensitive, and not only flat objects. However, it might be a long way until such a technique would replace our beloved touchscreen devices, but it is still revolutionary. The conductive spray paint could be used to make more objects respond to our commands the same way mobile phones do.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons