It's a small revolution in the world of decoration: a sensitive paint that transforms walls into touch-sensitive switches. Once the paint is applied to the wall, a simple touch of the user on this surface turns the light on and off. The switch disappears and the entire wall surface becomes active.
Conductive paint allows a uniform electric field to pass through the entire surface. When the user places his finger on the surface it absorbs an undetectable amount of energy, the electric field then experiences a variation perceived by a sensor. The latter then transforms this signal into ON/OFF or, like certain lamps and switches, translates this signal as a command to vary the light intensity.
The technique imagined by Nicolas Triboulot of the Quarks Design studio is based on a capacitive principle, equivalent to that used on the screens of smartphones and tablets. The painting is associated with a small electronic box dimensioned to be inserted in a standard flush-mounted box (wall switch / wall socket).
Just touch the wall to validate an action.
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This paint can be applied with a roller or a brush, on any support (plaster, wood, concrete, plastic...). The ON/OFF paint can be covered with a layer of finishing paint of the desired colour or wallpaper, without loss of efficiency. An electronic device replaces the existing switch or socket, depending on the desired function.
ON/OFF can be coupled to a lamp, an alarm, or any electrically controllable device. It is possible to add another function to the housing such as a type, dimmer, timer, or socket ...
No need to pull wires, the switch can cover a large area. Visually the switch disappears and the electronic device can remain hidden from view. Accessibility is almost infinite, whether in zigzag corridors or in large rooms, the switch is omnipresent without being visible. It is easy to choose the location and size of the contact area, whether it is a strip, a whole wall or an isolated area. Any surface that can be painted can offer this possibility.
The assembly consists of a sensitive sensor made of a conductive coating and an electronic control module which is powered by the 230V 50Hz mains supply. After appropriate protection and EMI filtering, the mains voltage is rectified, filtered and stabilised by the power supply stage. The signal from the sensitive sensor is acquired by the detection stage and then processed to drive the input of the signal processing stage. After processing, the signal is amplified by the power stage.
Principle of operation
The basic principle is detection by change of capacity. The sensor, connected to the detection stage by a single conductor, has a parasitic capacitance with respect to earth. When a person touches the sensitive sensor, its capacitance with respect to earth (about 30 picofarad) changes the value of the sensor's parasitic capacitance.
Some examples of applications
- Connected to a door, which is also conductive or has a handle, the light can be switched on when you are about to open by placing your hand on the handle, this is for dark rooms (basement).
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- Switch off all power supplies in the room (sockets) in one move and thus save energy by switching off devices that are left on standby.
- Alarm like "contact mats". To control the passage of a person, application to the surveillance system for swimming pools.
- For elderly or disabled people who need to set off an alarm if necessary. Simply touch the wall or a particular area of the room and the alarm will go off.
Nicolas Triboulot, associated with the SLPV painting company, has just won the Grand Prix de l'Innovation de Paris / 2011 edition. With an announced price of 30 euros per liter (for 6m2), we are eagerly awaiting its arrival on the market, scheduled for the first half of 2012.
To find out more: www.peinture-interrupteur-on-off.com/