Wallpaper seems to be having a moment. Whether conductive or metallic, these wall coverings are definitely not your grandparents’ wallpaper. Now another innovation has emerged, this time out of London, where researchers at the Imperial College London have created a “living” wallpaper.
Working with the University of Cambridge and Central Saint Martins, researchers found a way to harvest electricity by using cyanobacteria as ink, then putting it through an inkjet printer and printing it and circuitry onto conductive paper in a zigzagging pattern. The live cyanobacteria then photosynthesize to create energy.
The team is calling it a two-in-one bio-battery and solar panel, according to Inhabitat. Although it is not meant to replace conventional solar technology, this living wallpaper, a portion of which could power a digital clock or LED light bulb, could be a sustainable alternative.
“Imagine a paper-based, disposable environmental sensor disguised as wallpaper, which could monitor air quality in the home,” Imperial College London’s Dr. Marin Sawa said in a statement. “When it has done its job it could be removed and left to biodegrade in the garden without any impact on the environment.”