The ability to paint wires or a switch without the intricacies of delicate wiring and circuits is quite fascinating. This is all being made possible by a special electrically conductive paint. The paint has the ability to create a form of liquid wiring.
The Amazing Discovery
The discovery took place in the Royal College of Art (RCA) London who made this paint do such wonders. This is not a new discovery but this group went far to test the possibilities and boundaries of what one could do with such conductive ink. This paint can be used on anything such as paper, plastic, metal or even fabrics. The paint dries immediately if exposed to the air making wait time for the thing to dry out literally zero.
The Royal College of Art graduates, Isabel Lizardi, Matt Johnson, Bibi Nelson and Becky Pilditch, call their genius invention ‘Bare Paint’. They do agree to the fact that they are not the first one on the scene to discover such ink but are expanding ways that it can be used.
It all Began…
“We started this project in earnest in 2009,” says Matt Johnson. “We were originally interested in trying to apply electronics to the skin … so we arrived at this idea of applying them as a coating and eventually we got this idea of a conductive paint.”
“In 2008 — and probably still today — there was a lot of work around electronic textiles,” says Johnson. “And though we really liked the idea of having a jumper (a piece of clothing) that has some intelligence in it, we didn’t like that it was so bulky and that once you took it off the functionality disappeared.”
This sort of started as a project in the college for their final term where most of the graduates were working to find ways to inject electronics under their skin, this team decided to venture off into something on a different level. It is like a path less traveled by. Johnson says, “that idea transformed into the material we have now, which is very safe though it’s not specifically intended for the body anymore.”
“Making a new material was a bit daunting for four designers,” says Johnson.
The team was afraid of going back to grass roots and that is the college classroom and start over again. They turned to the most simplest and unexpected solution of all, Wikipedia. The online resource provided them with everything they needed. After the formula being made and finalized they moved on to finding out the application procedures as to where and what the real life application of such a product could be.
The initial launch was the paint being sold in the raw form. It was made available to small investors to try and test it out. Today the paint jars of Bare Paint and pens are available on the internet and are also stocked by a famous electronic store across the United States, Radio Shack. Bare paint is being adopted slowly in small projects which range from industrial usage to home usage. This include the making of interactive color wheels to homemade electric toys. This conductive electric paint has opened up a wide avenue of possibilities. “Devices no longer have to look high tech to be high tech,” Johnson says. “Our goal is to put interactivity onto objects you don’t expect.”