Tag Archives: Bare Conductive Electric Paint

Bare Conductive makes window shopping more interesting

Our friends at Bare Conductive are at it again, this time transforming once-ordinary storefronts into touchscreens. UK-based creative agency Knit and jean specialist Hiut Denim Co. are using conductive ink to usher window shopping on the streets of London into today’s digital-savvy world.


Known for its creative community, Hiut Denim Co. felt that it was “appropriate to ‘tech hack’ a pair of jeans and utilize the latest innovation — conductive ink.” So, in order to tell the story, the denim specialist turned to Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint to create an interface using the storefront of exclusive British retailer Rivet and Hide.


As Bare Conductive notes, the mastermind behind the design Jack Chalkley utilized an [Atmel based] Arduino, MP3 shields, capacitive sensing pads and Electric Paint to bring the concept to life. The backside of the vinyl stencils were painted with Electric Paint to create sensors — registering a change of capacity when touched. According to Chalkley, the paint made an ideal alternative to transparent capacitive stickers given the project’s timeframe and budget.

The installation enables those walking by to hear about the history of Hiut, as well as stay informed of its latest jean collections, simply by interacting with icons affixed to the outside of the store window. This would appear to be the first-time ever that conductive ink has been used through glass — and certainly as part of a retail installation.


How it works is relatively simple: The ink senses the change in capacitance as the person touches the window icon, which in turn prompts the circuit to play a corresponding sample using transducer speakers. In addition to audio, light bulbs are programmed to switch on to create an even more compelling visual impact.


The stylish icons — which represent different parts of the brand’s story — were painted onto the inside of the window using conductive ink, while wires on the inside of the window were linked to a respective product. Various Atmel powered Arduino units were embedded within the pair of jeans, and responsible for controlling the triggers and audio samples.

“In a shop where even the metal hangers are hand made the paint’s aesthetic was also of importance: ‘It matched the materials aspect of both Rivet and Hide with their premium denim and Hiut with their focus on quality craft. The fact we also had a very handmade approach fitted nicely with that,’” Bare Conductive explains.

This Maker-inspired way to convert glass displays into real-time, interactive interfaces will continue to open windows of opportunities… literally. The question is: Where can Bare Conductive be used next? Bus stops, maps, menus… the list just goes on and on!

As previously seen inside our Maker Faire and Embedded World booths, an ATmega32U4 MCU can be found at the core of Bare Conductive’s Touch Board which enables Makers to transform touch into sound in countless ways.

Drawing a MIDI controller with conductive ink

Maker Daniel Sanz has put together this funky MIDI controller that employs conductive ink and a few capacitive sensors to produce sounds. The DIY nature of this design makes the possibilities for musical creation endless!


Sanz is a member Music Technology Group (MTG) at University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona and devised this project for his Interactive Music Systems Design Course.

The device allows Bare Conductive Electric Paint drawings to be used as MIDI input push buttons. An internal Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and two capacitive sensors enable the unit to determine whether each individual buttons is being pushed or not.

This model allows for custom templates to be created for the MIDI controller itself. This is ideal for children to experiment with, as it is also incredibly inexpensive compared to consumer level MIDI controllers.


Sanz breaks down his machine in his detailed Instructables post, “The push-buttons are connected with conductive ink to the case, where the Arduino and the sensors are.” He goes on, “The case has 20 small metallic sheets, where each of the buttons are connected. The capacitive sensor is managed by an [Atmel based] Arduino, and it charges and discharges every pin continuously to measure its capacity and check if there is a human body touching it.”

You can read more about the Maker’s ATmega328 based design over at Draw It Yourself’s official Instructables page.