Brand Spotlight

Fusing technology with ‘paint by electricity’ creativity

Posted by:
The Scale Up

17 Aug 2020

The backstory – Bare Conductive

Bare Conductive is a London-based technology start-up, developing a platform of sensing technologies based around its electrically conductive paint and capacitive hardware. This platform is currently manifested through consumer-facing products and a select number of projects with industry partners.

The company has won multiple competitions including Innovate UK’s Digital Disruptive Solutions £100k award, has been nominated for Design of the Year Award by the Design Museum, and received an Honorary Mention at Ars Electronica. Bare Conductive has been featured by the Guardian, FT, BBC, CNN, Fast Company, the Evening Standard and Wired, amongst other prestigious international publications.

With such an envious list of accolades, Bare Conductive is a company of techy concepts that capture attention far and wide. With their range of paint and kits, you can let your engineering imagination run riot. Take a look at this video from Mashable to see how.

We put a few questions to COO and co-founder Bibi Nelson to delve deeper into the London-based tech startup.

How and why was Bare Conductive created?

We launched Bare Conductive in 2009 off the back of a student project from the Royal College of Art (RCA) and Imperial College. We wanted to investigate whether we could print electrical circuits on any surface – floors, walls, and even the body.

Today it’s grown to be so much more. Bare Conductive specialises in printed electronics and impedance sensing, and produces a range of products and technologies for a wide range of industries. These include development kits aimed at engineers, designers and individual consumers to experiment with and test our technology for their projects and applications. That was the untapped market we’d identified.

Essentially we help people explore electronics and learn how to make circuits.

The challenges of 2020 created a lot of clarity for us and we are excited to share our new ideas with our community.

- Bibi Nelson

How exactly does conductive paint work?

Our non-toxic, water-based paint products can be applied to a range of materials and enable you to paint circuits and cold solder components. Electric paint works as a conductive adhesive and uses two forms of carbon: carbon black and graphite.

It’s often used for prototyping with electronics where you can integrate electrical properties into inactive mediums such as painting, screen printing, and other visual arts. Not only that, painting circuits is a useful way to introduce the basic principles of electricity to young students.

We go into a lot of detail on our website, and offer a number of workshop manuals and guides to get started.

You don’t just offer paint though, what else can tech fans get their creative hands on?

We manufacture and sell touch boards too. These can be transformed into all sorts of things, such as a piano or drum kit. Businesses, schools and colleges can make the most of our interactive workshop packs to discover the power of creative tech and, our interactive wall kit is ready-to-install for professional installations – all powered by the Touch Board.

Other products we’ve added to the range include an electric paint circuit kit that introduces people to conductive inks and lets you illuminate a mini paper city, and an electric paint lamp kit to transform paper into light.

We’ve put together a handy resource full of techniques and inspiration. It shows you just how versatile the products are!

Are there any particular creative uses that have stood out?

We are always just really inspired by what our community uses our product for. There are some really interesting material hacks of the Electric Paint we usually think of it as paint so used when it is dry but there are a few beautiful projects that use it whilst it is still a liquid.

With the Touch Board, the methods people find to connect to it are also really clever. It is just a PCB so you could solder wires to it but people find lots of ingenious ways of connecting their physical sensors or buttons to it.

Bare Conductive - MIDI Box

Who makes up the Bare Conductive team?

We’ve grown to a team of 10 full-time staff. As we’re a small, busy team, we outsource parts of our business and operation to give us the time and space to focus on design, marketing, and sales. It’s really important for us to focus on our expertise, and partner with others to bring their expertise on board.

What’s the key to Bare Conductive’s growth over the next five years?

The key to our growth is making sure that our community of thousands of engineering, designers, and developers in 50+ countries around the world can get our products when they need them, and fast. We have a great team, some exciting new products on the horizon, and plans to expand our distribution and sales channels to better serve our customers. The challenges of 2020 created a lot of clarity for us and we are excited to share our new ideas with our community.

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James and James Fulfilment

It all began in 2010, when James Hyde and James Strachan couldn’t find a modern shipping service for the eCommerce business they ran. Faced with messy warehouses based on out-dated systems, they decided to build their own.

We’ve not stood still since, helping hundreds of online brands scale up – and scaling with them.