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SmartPaint is a generic label far a wide variety of products used to cover surfaces. It was one of the ever present features of the Imperium; used for advertising, entertainment, information display, and vehicular/home decoration. The basic premise of SmartPaint is an applied surface that can be programmed to different colors and patterns. SmartPaint operates through a series of transparent layers, each of which can be electrically polarized to a different hue. SmartPaint is designed to align itself as it is painted, forming these layers automatically. The holographic version actually uses several hundred layers of semi-refracting crystals to generate the illusion of depth. SmartPaint requires a small computer to control the polarization and a power source. Programs for SmartPaint are easily available in a wide variety of patterns and can be custom tailored as well.
SmartPaint first becomes available at TL-10. It can only form solid colors and simple geometric patterns(stripes, dots, blotches) and is limited to a narrow spectrum. This version of SmartPaint usually needs a basecoat of white to display colors accurately. Later versions do not have this disadvantage. At TL-11 Smartpaint can form complex patterns such as text and pictures. It is able to operate in a broad spectrum (from near IR through UV). At TL-12 Smartpaint can display moving pictures; allowing animated sequences to be played. A special mixture is flexible and safe enough to be worn on the body, although it rubs off after a day or two of activity. At TL-13 SmartPaint can form holographic images on itıs surface. Note that the paint cannot project images: it generates a sense of depth upon the surface. At TL-14 the images can be animated, allowing Tri-V animation to be played on the SmartPaint surface.
All cans of SmartPaint weigh 2 kg and can cover 10 sq meters of surface. SmartPaint dries to .5 kg per 10sq meters. It is applied with an integral sprayer or roll-on device. The control devices are all about the size of an engineering calculator and weigh .5 kg. This does not include the power source. A control device can control up to 100 square meters of SmartPaint and they can be hooked together for larger surfaces. The SmartPaint can be internally illuminated for display at night by doubling the cost and power consumption for the paint (not the control unit).
Damage to a SmartPaint surface affects only the damaged area: the rest of the painted surface operates normally. Damage to the computer or loss of power causes the paint to immediately revert to its transparent nature. It is not possible to repair damaged SmartPaint, but a damaged layer can simply be painted over and connected to the control unit.