The Living Wall Project

Art & Design

The Living Wall project,
led by Leah Buechley
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab, uses magnetic and conductive paints to create circuitry
in attractive designs.

The electronically enhanced wallpaper promises not only eye-pleasing
designs, but also the ability to activate lamps and heaters – and even
control music systems.

combined with cheap temperature, brightness and touch sensors, LEDs and
Bluetooth, the wall becomes a control surface able to "talk" to nearby
devices. You can touch a flower to turn on a lamp, for example, or set heaters to fire up when the room gets cold.

To create the wallpaper, the team started with steel foil sandwiched
between layers of paper that are coated with magnetic paint – acrylic
paint infused with iron particles. Over this base they paint motifs
such as flowers and vines using conductive paint, which uses copper
particles rather than iron. The designs form circuits to which sensors,
lights and other elements can be attached.

“It really is just a sheet of paper, and could be produced with existing printing and construction methods,” Buechley says.

Having exposed circuitry on your wall might sound dangerous, but
Buechley says the system runs at 20 volts, drawing around 2.5 amps when
fully loaded with devices. “You can go up and touch the wall and not
even feel a tingle,” she says.

Dn18066-1_300 Paint_thumb

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