Back in 2004, a British defense contractor invented Wi-Fi-blocking wallpaper, but one square foot cost too much money: £500 / $803 / 622 Euro.Now, though, researchers at the Grenoble Institute of Technology have revealed such a wallpaper that is actually affordable.
In fact, they believe that the wallpaper they have created, complete with a nice snowflake pattern, will sell for as much as regular, mid-range wallpaper.
It's still a prototype but, nonetheless, the wallpaper was proven to block Wi-Fi signals without hindering cellphone or radio waves in any way.
In other words, though calls will come through fine, you won't have your Wi-Fi connection open to neighbors or anyone from beyond the surface coated with it.
Likewise, the wallpaper will keep Wi-Fi from the surrounding area from getting in too, making it appealing to people who want to minimize their exposure to electromagnetic waves.
On that note, hospitals, hotels and theaters could always do with less EM interference too. We can definitely see them becoming major customers.
And here is where we should probably say why the thing works as it does: a paper sheet is covered with conductive ink that contains silver crystals. That's pretty much it.
Don't think it works perfectly though. Well, it does work fine, but it is still limited by architecture. For total isolation of Wi-Fi within a room or house, people will have to cover all the walls, the floor and the ceiling.
There is also the issue of windows. Sure, the Grenoble Institute of Technology scientists intend to make a transparent version of the technology, but that will take longer than it did to make this ”normal” wallpaper.
Speaking of which, commercial availability is slated for the onset of next year (2013). L'Informaticien has the whole story, so go here to read more, assuming you know French. There is, of course, a Google-translated page too (right here).