The Talking Walls – Disney’s Touch-Sensitive Wall
The Smart Walls
I am sure you have heard the very popular quote ‘Even walls have ear‘ which equals in Urdu ‘Deewaron ke bhi kaan hote hain’ but here we are talking about ‘Talking Walls’. Excited!
In partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, Disney has pioneered the development of a smart wall that can read touch inputs. This touch-sensing wall is made up of touch-sensing electrodes covered by a conductive paint.
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The smart walls, titled ‘Wall++’, can also be used to pick up signals from nearby appliances and gadgets wirelessly. This can be used for several smart home applications.
Wall++, a wall that can track touch and gestures, sense nearby bodies and their positions as well as detect and locate active appliances.
Wall++ can also be used to track the motion of people inside a room and apart from the interactive giant touchpad, the smart wall might also serve as an instrument of covert surveillance.
Making of Smart Walls
To make the wall – and keep it inexpensive and simple to construct – the researchers tested various conductive paints, the best way to apply them, whether a topcoat was beneficial or a hindrance, how to connect the wall electrodes, the best electrode pattern and how to optimize antenna sensitivity.
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Following these experiments, the team chose to use water-based nickel paint applied to the wall in a diamond pattern with a roller. They used copper tape to connect the electrodes, vinyl stickers as insulation and latex paint as a topcoat.
Once the wall was constructed, it was able to detect touch and hovering, estimate the pose of a person standing near it, determine when appliances were running and, in general, where. When they were wearing wristbands that emitted a constant 1.5 MHz signal, the wall was also able to generally track individuals. You can see the wall in action in the video below.
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