A team of researchers in Bristol has challenged the idea that touch screens are limited to two-dimensional and rectangular shapes. Scientists have developed an interactive display that can be sprayed in any form.

Inspired by how the artist creates graffiti on the wall and using a new combination of sprayed electronics and 3D printing, ProtoSpray technology allows you to create displays on surfaces that go beyond the usual rectangular and two-dimensional shapes.

We have freed up displays from their two-dimensional rectangular shells by developing a process that allows people to create interactive objects of any shape. The process is very accessible: it allows users to create objects with conductive plastic and electroluminescent paint, even if they have no experience with similar materials.

Ollie Hunton, Ph.D., student and lead author of the research

Hunton’s Innovation Report was presented and received an honorable mention at the ACM (Technology, Research, and Cooperation) conference, which is considered the most prestigious scientific conference in the field of human-computer interaction.

The purpose of the study, funded by EPSRC (Research Council for Engineering and Physical Sciences), was to enhance the ability of people to interact with digital technology.

ProtoSpray technology, developed in collaboration with the MIT media laboratory, provides an opportunity for manufacturers, amateurs and researchers to create interactive objects of various and arbitrary shapes.

3D printers allowed to produce objects on their own. But the work of scientists moves progress even further, where you can print not only plastic, but also other materials that are necessary to create displays. Using 3D printing from plastics and spraying materials that glow when electricity is applied, researchers can help manufacturers create objects of all shapes that can display information.

Dr. Ann Roudo, an assistant professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Bristol, who oversaw the study, said the next step would be to create a machine that can simultaneously print 3D shapes and automatically spray screens onto them.