Advanced Sensors, Materials, Actuators, Reactive User Interfaces and Illumination Technologies for Smart Object Surfaces


The surface, forming the boundary between a solid state object and its environment, not only protects against harsh ambient conditions and gives the object its specific appearance and texture, but also forms the object’s gateway to the world. Since nowadays objects are becoming increasingly smart, materializing the vision of ubiquitous computing by dismantling the boundary between everyday objects and computers, the object’s surface has an important role to play by forming an interactive interface to the outer world. However, most objects’ surfaces are far from supporting this vision as they are formed by materials that are rather passive than active and not at all interactive. To date (inter)active functionality is brought to object surfaces only by complicate multistage assembling steps of discrete electronic, sensory and optic components.

In this context Smart@Surface is creating a major innovation leap by giving function directly to the surface. Smart@Surface aims to develop object surfaces that are active and even interactive, surfaces that detect and react on external stimuli such as touch, pressure, strain and proximity. Smart@Surface supplies objects with a sensitive skin for recording human motion and vital parameters. This smart skin, made of diverse materials such as leather, stone, wood or foil, forms a seamless and neat surface of elegant appearance thus supporting intuitive interaction with humans with visual and haptic feedback.

This project was made possible by the support of the following institutions: