Researchers at the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems have developed a way to turn wood into smart sensors. Just like the above image demonstrates, you’d be able to control your smart homes devices using a wooden panel.
Besides looking really cool and creating a way for smart home controls to integrate better into the designs of homes that use a lot of wood, it has other advantages according to the creators;
However, being able to eliminate the need for batteries in low-power devices, such as smart home sensors, could save manufacturing costs and your environmental footprint.
Being able to rely on wood as a smart building material also reduces the number of plastics used in the home. It takes time for these projects to go from the laboratory to the market, but the potential of this invention is enormous.
So how does it work exactly? The wood has a thin copper film applied to the underside. This copper film makes contact with a non-stick layer beneath when pressed, and then generates an electric charge. That charge can be used to power a sensor and emit a signal. So essentially its applicable to all types of materials. But of course turning the non conductive material wood into a smart sensor sounds the coolest.