Turn static objects into musical instruments

Technology company Novalia is using conductive printing to provide the common man with the tools to turn 2D surfaces into musical instruments.

UK-based technology company Novalia founded by Dr Kate Stone, is well-known for adding interactivity to print, posters, packaging, books, floors and walls. Now they have developed the Printed Touch Creator Kit, which allows the common design enthusiast, artist and hacker to create interactive interfaces via a paper-thin sticker, pre-printed with conductive ink.

The Creator Kit contains printed stickers in various sizes, a press-on control module and a simple software tool, allowing the user to make any object interactive – no programming or soldering of wires necessary. The stickers have pre-printed conductive-ink touch sensors and circuit on one side and are self-adhesive on both front and back so the user can stick them to any non-conductive surface. The control module, which contains a battery pack and speaker, is then pasted onto the sticker. Customised graphics can be stuck over the module.

The circuit on the sticker has large carbon areas, which act as “hotspots” that are activated by touch, and are connected by fine tracks to pads within the control module. The control module detects touches and activates the sound you have selected for the hotspot to play.

Lastly, using the simple software tool for PC or Mac, select the sounds of your choice and associate them with any touch point you wish on the sticker. The system is lightweight, the circuit is printed onto the paper and the touch technology is barely perceptible beneath your graphics.

Earlier this year Novalia had great success DJ QBert’s interactive printed DJ Decks.