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CreatorKit: printed stickers add 'touch' to any substrate

02 June 2015

A company in Cambridge has developed technology that can make any surface interactive using pre-printed conductive ink stickers that add touch sensitivity.

Novalia's 'PrintedTouch' stickers

Novalia, founded and run by Dr Kate Stone, is currently seeking funds for its invention via the Kickstarter crowdfunding website. The purpose of its current project is to add interactivity to print, posters, packaging, books, floors, walls and more.

Adding interactivity to these surfaces first involves printing a circuit of conductive carbon ink onto paper. The circuit has large carbon areas which act as capacitive pads, or 'hotspots' and are connected by fine tracks to pads beneath a control module.

The control module 'pulses' the pads under it with a voltage and measures the time it takes for the voltage pulse to come back. If a finger, body part or something else conductive is on or near the hotspots then it can cause the voltage pulse to take longer to come back to the module, which detects this delay and interprets it as a touch event. It then activates a sound selected for the hotspot to play. 

Novalia uses regular printing processes, so the printed touch stickers are paper thin and very lightweight, and can be seamlessly integrated into all manner of products without the need for bulky electronics.

To find out more, and how you might be able to help fund this project, click here.

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