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Striped, Solid, or Smart: Researchers are developing wallpaper to control devices

Recently, Google received a patent that could turn walls into screens, but there may be a way to make the structures even smarter.

Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have created new printed electronics that can control everything from speakers to sensors, according to the International Business Times. Designed to be printed onto a wide variety of materials, including paper and aluminum, manufacturers could eventually incorporate the printed electronics in wallpaper.

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The smart wallpaper is a bit like an iPhone, with microphones, sensors, and speakers embedded into it, NTU Professor Joseph Chang told IBT. Once it’s on your walls, you can talk out loud to command your devices, and the wall will execute your request. It’ll even talk back to you, giving it a Siri-like feel.

Creating the printed electronics is fairly cheap, as little as seven cents a sheet, according to Asia Report. In addition to wallpaper, homeowners could overlay windows with transparent film that includes circuits.

At the moment, the researchers are focusing on the health market with their product. Chang noted that there are already products on the market that can tell you everything from when a bandage needs to be changed to your heart rate. The smart wallpaper could be particularly helpful for the elderly, who may not be as mobile as others. Instead of needing a phone or computer to communicate, they could just talk to the walls. That could be especially useful if someone suffers a fall.

Over the past four years, the NTU researchers have received $1.5 million in funding for their invention, according to Asia One. NTU hopes to create a startup company through which Chang and his team will eventually commercialize the smart wallpaper. Hopefully it goes with the rest of our décor.