A wall does not have much of function other than supporting the base of our homes and separating rooms. Sometimes, we decorate or paint them, but for the most part walls are pretty static. Now, walls are becoming “smart.”
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have created Wall++, a sensing approach that allows our infrastructures to be aware of interactivity, objects and people. After a thorough electrical paint treatment, Wall++ can track users’ touch, gestures and body poses, according to Eurek Alert. Additionally, with the use of airborne electromagnetic noise, the wall can also sense active appliances and their exact location.
Once the wall is painted, it connects to a custom-created sensor board. This provides a matrix of values that allows the wall to sense distance from objects, body movement or even poses. The sensors can also act as passive antennas that capture electromagnetic noise from active appliances in the room, such as a blowing hair dryer, a tool drilling and more.
These new possibilities could provide users the ability to conveniently place or move light switches anywhere on the wall. It could also control videogames with a mere gesture. With wall monitoring activity, users could adjust light levels when the television is on or receive an alert when the laundry finishes.
The researchers use conductive paint that creates electrodes over the wall. The electrode wall operates in both capacitive sensing and electromagnetic (EM) sensing. The capacitive sensing acts like a touchpad, but when a person touches the wall the electrostatic field is interrupted. In the EM sensing mode the electrode detects electrical devices so the system can identify their location and identify the specific device.
Smart walls will cost about $20 per square meter and consume as much power as a standard touch screen.
Filed Under: Motion control • motor controls