Digital tiles transform any space into a personal cinema screen

Lumentiles are nearing production, allowing the user to configure "smart" color or video displays.

Lumentiles transform ordinary spaces with colors and video images in a plain ceramic tile. (Image credit:
Lumentiles transform ordinary spaces with colors and video images in a plain ceramic tile. (Image credit:

IMAGE: Lumentiles transform ordinary spaces with colors and video images in a plain ceramic tile. (Image credit:

Announced back in 2016 by Laser Focus World, the 'Luminous Electronic Tile', or LUMENTILE project (see, which mixes the simplicity of a plain ceramic tile with sophisticated touchscreen technology to create a light source with smarts, is now close to producing product. All it takes is one tap to change the color, look, or mood of any room in your house, office, or public location.

A combination of ceramic, glass and organic electronics, the luminous tile includes structural materials, solid-state light sources and electronic chips and can be controlled with a central computer, a smart phone or tablet.

This is the first time anyone has tried to embed electronics and photonics into ceramics or glass for a large-scale application. With the ability to play videos or display images, the tiles allow the user to turn their walls into a large cinema screen, where each A4 sized unit acts as a pixel of the overall display.

Project coordinator, professor Guido Giuliani of the University of Pavia says, "This is not just a digital panel to replace an animated poster like you see on the Underground network, but a whole new way of life. You are instantly in control of your own environment: if you don't like your bathroom in blue, now you can change it to green with one tap. If you like flowery wallpaper, ducks or Christmas trees, that's up to you."

Each measuring the size of a standard, rectangular A4 piece of paper with their own internal power source, the tiles can be tailored entirely to the customer’s needs: completely or partially covering the walls of a room, a floor, ceiling, or perhaps total submersion. So long as the pieces tessellate, any shapes will be possible such as hexagonal or triangular ceramic tiles.

The tiles, which can be switched off so that a basic silver, black or white color can be a default setting, are equipped with an on board microcontroller, and operate on a lexical network invisible to the user. The surface of each tile has uniform and efficient illumination, achieved by LUMENTILE's smart light management system, a new approach based on a light guiding slab and spatially selective light extraction.

With the ability to configure the tiles to become 'smart floor panels' that recognise when an elderly user is no longer standing or has perhaps fallen, or in security situations where a floor will be sensitive to intruders, the tiles have the capacity to act as a smart floor.

With its durable nature, the luminous ceramic tile could be used externally: placing it on the outside of a building creates the obvious potential for advertising or changing the color or appearance. However, the tiles can be flat or curved to fit around columns or uneven contours. Military vehicles, for example, fitted with this external 'skin' crossing a variety of terrains, such as woodland, desert or water would be capable of unlimited camouflage at the flick of a switch.

LUMENTILE received a grant of 2,470,113.75 euro from Horizon 2020 via the Photonics Public Private Partnership.

Coordinated in Italy by UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI PAVIA, LUMENTILE is comprised of a number of partners from Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, including TEKNOLOGIAN TUTKIMUSKESKUS VTT (Finland), ECLEXYS SAGL (Switzerland), JULIGHT SRL, KERAPLAN SRL (Italy), STUDIO ITINERANTE ARQUITECTURA SL, KNOWLEDGE INNOVATION MARKET S.L. (Spain).

SOURCE: Matter PR;

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