The Meural Canvas brings art to any home


(Published in The Produktkulturmagazin issue 4 2018)

What do common electronic picture frames showing photographs on a constant loop have in common with the 'living' paintings from the Harry Potter world? Meural, an art technology startup from New York, combines the two in its Meural Canvas, a fascinating canvas which is not only able to display photographs in HD quality, but also famous paintings. What’s special about the canvas is that the display is so realistic that textures and brushstrokes can be discerned despite not being there in reality. 

Who can claim to have Van Gogh hanging in their living room one day, and a Dalí or Munch the next? Those who have a Meural Canvas on their wall have a free choice at all times, true to the startup’s motto: “Art is for everyone”. No matter whether it fits the decor, the mood, the occasion or season. The images are simply changed with a swipe, just as if it were an oversized tablet. Gesture controls can also fade in information about the respective works of art or photographs and fade it back out. The image can automatically adapt to the lighting of the surroundings in order to make the painting appear more realistic, or the lighting can be controlled manually. The digital frame can be attached to the wall through a device that allows the frame to easily be rotated so the frame can optionally be aligned either vertically or horizontally. The Meural Canvas also recognises the set orientation, automatically adapting the selected image.

Of course, there is also an accompanying smartphone and tablet app which allows the sequence of depicted images to be determined. Photos can also be uploaded through the app and viewed directly in the picture frame or displayed with various filters. This allows you to easily become the curator of your own little gallery without having to worry about having prints of your own photographs made. But that’s not all: the Meural Canvas can even display moving images and be controlled through Amazon’s Alexa, allowing the frame to also be positioned in locations that are not as easily accessible.

The 'Leonora' model of the Meural Canvas is available in black or white for 595 dollars, while 'Winslow' is made of walnut wood and is available for 695 Dollars. A comprehensive collection of over 40,000 works of art can be accessed through a subscription for approximately 50 dollars per year, and there is a selection of 100 free images. The picture frame runs on a power adapter which uses an average of just 19 watts, therefore consuming less energy than a common light bulb. Netgear acquired Meural in September of this year, and while the details of the deal are largely unknown, Netgear is said to be planning the integration of a Wi-Fi router into the digital art frame in order to increase its performance as well as the range of home Wi-Fi networks.

Picture credit © meural

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