Imagine being able to add touchscreen-like control to any surface. Sounds like real science fiction, but a small group of engineers are working to make it happen. Their new product, called Electrick, uses electric field tomography with an electrically conductive material that’s easy to apply to turn any surface into a touch-sensitive controller.
We took notice of Electrick at Laszeray because it is compatible with our core manufacturing technologies of custom injection molding and 3D printed rapid prototyping. Currently, touch interfaces are limited to flat surfaces, like all of our smartphones and tablets. What makes Electrick really interesting is that it can be applied to curved surfaces, large objects, and complex geometries. This is particularly exciting since it could become possible for us to design, test, and manufacture a product with touch sensitive capacity to any item we’re capable of making!
Some of the applications demonstrated were adding custom functionality to a guitar, rapid prototyping a video game controller, and turning a table into a piece of smart furniture capable of launching apps on a laptop when the right spot is touched. The possibilities are endless for this product for adding a “smart” layer to toys, tools, furniture and more. This technology could also make touch-based interfaces in the consumer, aerospace, commercial, medical, military and recreational industries happen with ease.