Novalia Drum Poster

The Cambridge-based technology firm is transforming paper into a usable interface


Novalia is a team of seven scientists, programmers and designers from Cambridge, England whose members love all things creative. The small technology firm wants to put their platform in the hands of musicians, artists and other creatives—starting with an interactive drum-kit poster. Simply touching or tapping the printed poster with your fingers triggers seven different sounds that make up the drum-kit.

Two different types of posters are being developed: One that will connect to your iPhone or iPad and wirelessly play the drums via Bluetooth through the device, and a stand-alone version that transforms the poster’s surface into a speaker. Because the majority of the product is paper, card and ink, the materials are sustainable, and the electronics module is separable from the poster, making recycling simple. Compare that to trying to recycle an old computer monitor!


“We want to be a company that adds intuitive interactive technology subtly to any printed thing around us,” Kate Stone, Novalia’s founder, told us. Discussing the next iterations of Drum Poster, Stone continued; “We would love to let the drum poster app connect the drums all around the world and have a network of people sharing beats.” While in the past few decades screens have begun to replace paper as the visual form of choice, Novalia is proving that the two mediums are not mutually exclusive. We’re excited that their innovative use of already-available technology (Bluetooth, conductive ink, and capacitive touch) holds many possibilities for the future: Imagine reading a review in a print magazine and listening to the described song without connecting to the internet, or interactive campaign posters for next year’s Presidential election.

You can support the project via their Kickstarter campaign. Also check out Stone’s recent TED Talk.

Images courtesy of Novalia