Google’s Parlor Walls

Have you grown tired of that pedestrian, 80-inch screen sitting atop your home entertainment center? I mean, come on; you can still see the wall behind it. The good news for you is that it looks like Google is prepared to add some spice to the world of home entertainment, with a patent for a product Quartz compared to technology in Back to the Future II. Personally, I prefer a comparison to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, in which citizens are constantly transfixed and stupefied by gigantic television screens, but I suppose that’s not quite as fun. PSA: If you haven’t read Fahrenheit 451, you should.

On Monday, Google filed a patent for walls that are also TVs. Well… pretty close, anyway. It definitely has the potential. Really, the patent is for “a method and apparatus for enabling themes using photo-active surface paint.”

Explanation: What Google calls “photo-active paint” would work much like the digital ink in e-readers, changing the colors and images on a given surface to display, presumably, whatever the user desires. This would happen when a projection system hits the surface (in this case, a wall) with a new image. The emphasis of the patent seems to be on themes, like the desktop on your computer. Google suggests the image could change to correspond with holidays, seasons, city skylines and monuments (in case your view sucks), or just whatever the weather looks like – you know, so we can cut out the whole “going outside” wherever possible. “Ew, nature? Gross.”

While the focus of the patent is on these themes, some of the language in the patent seems to indicate Google’s digital paint and projection system would be capable of displaying videos, too. So, if and when the technology reaches that point, it sounds like your walls can function as gigantic televisions. No need for the real world to encroach on your fantasy at all! Ditch that 80” HDTV, grab some photo-active paint, and prepare to binge watch your life away.

Don’t get too excited about this dystopian vision of the future and quit your day job, though. When asked for a comment by Quartz, Google said: “Prospective announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”

…Right. We have a healthy dose of skepticism in regards to that comment, but until an official announcement is made, please keep reading, everybody.

Author: Tim Larsen

Share This Post On