In an age where food can be assembled by a printer and bacteria can be engineered to produce gold, surely talking billboards cannot be that far away. A team of students from London’s Royal College of Art (RCA) is bringing interactive electronics to an entirely new level with their Bare Paint. Their product allows users to literally draw electrical circuits on a wall without the need for printed circuit boards or wiring. Able to be used on paper, plastic, fabric, or metal, the paint itself hardens quickly when exposed to the air. It can be used as a as a potentiometer that interfaces with a microcontroller, or for powering devices like LED lights or small speakers.
Amazingly, developers Isabel Lizardi, Matt Johnson, Bibi Nelson and Becky Pilditch, accomplished their task to make an easy-to-use conductive ink by perusing Wikipedia articles. Instead of returning to school for another four years, they delved into the online resource in an attempt to apply electronics on the skin back in 2009. After graduating, they collaborated with DJ Calvin Harris to produce the “Humanthesizer” project, which placed the paint on dancers’ bodies to create a human synthesizer. Among its accolades, their product earned an Honorable Mention at the Prix ARS Electronica in 2010, and won the Technology Strategy Board’s 2011 Disruptive Solutions competition.
Taking the conductive paint out the hands of industry and to DIY enthusiasts, Bare Paint is available in both a jar and pen. You can find Bare Paint online or at RadioShack stores around the United States. The site offers classroom stationary kits, battery packs, light house models, and tutorials to get the creative juices flowing. What could you make with Bare Paint?