Clever, mischief-minded researchers in Japan have developed an interior paint that blocks wireless signals. Made with aluminum-iron oxide, the paint resonates at the same frequency as many household devices like routers and cell phones, absorbing and deflecting waves of data.
The best part: it’s not that much more expensive than regular paint. According to the BBC, it could cost as little as 10 pounds sterling per kilogram, whatever that means. (That’s roughly $80 a gallon.) It would take roughly three-quarters of a gallon to paint the average manager’s office, isolating it from all intra-company wireless communications and anointing a new ultimate office prank.
But the researchers say it will also prove useful for businesses who want the convenience of WiFi but don’t want sensitive data being transmitted to malevolent hangers-on, who can often pick up a signal from a street or neighboring building. Hospitals could also use the paint to shield rooms against stray electromagnetic radiation. It could even be used in movie theaters, to force phones into radio silence.
Researchers are the University of Tokyo are at work on commercial applications now, and are considering selling the technology to a prominent American movie theater chain.