Digital wallpaper may have only existed as a designer’s dream, allowing for constant change of design and aesthetic, but this ceramic panel created by Italian scientists promises to deliver just that.

Each Luminous Electronic Tile – or Lumentile – acts as a touch screen controlled by a smart phone, tablet or computer, which can change colour, pattern or light intensity, play videos or display images, at any designer’s discretion.

If numerous tiles are arranged together, they can create a ‘cinema’ screen with each tile acting as a set of pixels for the overall display. 

The combination of ceramic, glass and electronics allows the user to have instant and interchangeable control of the look and design of their surroundings by simply tapping the tile. 

This may change design processes, as the product boasts of no more need for painting and decorating. If you wanted to change the colour of your bathroom walls from blue to green, from botanic patterns to something a little more festive for Christmas, then you can.

 

Each tile measures the size of a rectangular A3 piece of paper, powered by an internal power source.

They can be arranged to completely or partially cover walls of a room, floor or ceiling, and as long as the tiles tessellate, any shape can be created. 

But they can also be transferred to the exterior of buildings, as either flat or curved tiles to fit around columns or uneven surfaces – allowing a platform for advertising or even camouflage.

 “It may sound like the stuff of James Bond but external tiles would create a ‘chameleonic skin’ or instant camouflage,” says project coordinator Professor Guido Giuliani.

“Although we are a long way off this yet, this would allow a car or building to blend completely into its surroundings, and hence ‘disappear’,” he explains.

Also looking to future possibilities, the tiles could become smart floor panels, detecting when an elderly person has fallen over, or for security purposes. 

Although these tiles cannot be purchased yet, they hope to be available to users in two years, with mass production by the end of 2020.

Lumentile received a grant of more than €2,400,000 from the Horizon 2020 program via the Photonics Public Private Partnership. Created in Italy by the Universita Degli Studi Di Pavia, the Lumentile project also has a number of European partners from Finland, Switzerland and Spain.