Bristol University engineers have developed a new spray-on technique for creating interactive displays of any shape.
Called ProtoSpray, the new sprayable electronics and 3D printing technique could help liberate displays from their standard 2D rectangular casings.
It was inspired by the way an artist creates graffiti on a wall and was developed in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab.
“We have liberated displays from their 2D rectangular casings by developing a process so people can build interactive objects of any shape,” intones lead author and PhD student, Ollie Hanton.
“The process is very accessible: it allows end-users to create objects with conductive plastic and electroluminescent paint even if they don’t have expertise in these materials.”
“3D printers have enabled personal fabrication of objects but our work takes this even further to where we print not only plastic but also other materials that are essential for creating displays.”
“By using 3D printing of plastics and spraying of materials that light up when electricity is applied, we can support makers to produce objects of all shapes that can display information and detect touch.”
According to Hanton, their vision is to make screen/display a fundamental expressive medium in the same way people currently use ink, paint, or clay.
Associate Professor Dr Anne Roudaut, who supervised the research, said that the next step would be to create a machine that can both 3D print and spray automatically onto the 3D printed objects.
Image and content: University of Bristol