The Jakarta Post
In the near future, the use of walls may shift from just big chunky dividers that provide infrastructure support and privacy.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research have transformed a wall into “smart” and useful infrastructure that can respond to human touch and detect both human gestures and appliances.
Users can eventually control their smart house with just a few taps on the wall with an estimated cost of US$20 per square meter.
Also named Wall++, this smart wall looks like any typical wall. The secret behind it lies in the conductive paint coating the wall and the custom sensor boards that can detect and go so far as track electrical appliances. The conductive paint can create electrodes on the surface of the wall, turning it into a gesture sensing touchpad.
The system has a lot of potential for future use by customers. Users could reportedly monitor electronic activity in rooms, going so far as to automatically adjust light levels or send alerts when an appliance like a toaster goes off. The wall can even track people’s movements and whereabouts in the room when they’re using certain electronic devices.
“Users can control lighting or music play by double-tapping on walls or through swipe gestures," Yang Zhang, a PhD student said in a statement. “Similarly, users can also touch these walls to send commands to smart appliances such as TVs, Google Home, and Amazon Echo.”
Carnegie Mellon is still developing the new system, including optimizing energy consumption for Wall++. Yang Zhang will present the research paper about this new technology at the CHI 2018, in Montreal, Canada. The team hopes to make commercial partners to make Wall++ available commercially soon, starting the new era of smart infrastructure.
"I see it as part of a growing portfolio of sensors that live with us in our homes and buildings." Carlo Ratti, professor of Urban Technologies at MIT has stated, also calling the technology “interesting”. (ely/wng)
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