Imagine changing the colour of your home or office décor without the messy, time-consuming effort of traditional paint.
Trusscore, an Ontario-based material science company, is working to create just that.
“Trusscore is hoping to disrupt the notion of painted walls with a breakthrough, industry-changing building technology,” says company founder and CEO Dave Caputo. “Trusscore Digital Paint has the potential to shake the foundation of what’s possible when you think of wall décor, unleashing the creative soul that lives in everyone.”
Using a combination of nanophotonic and electrochromic technology, Trusscore is exploring ways to create an ultra-thin layer of colour-changing film that can be laminated over the company’s flagship wall-and-ceiling panels and controlled by a smart-home IoT system.
The goal is to change the colour of walls and ceilings with an app on your phone. Want to add some orange for a Halloween party? Or a little red for a special Valentine’s dinner? Or maybe warm up the colour of a room to help lighten your mood? In future, such makeovers could be just a tap away.
The R&D project is part of Trusscore’s overarching material-science goal to replace painted drywall with more sustainable alternatives, says Caputo.
Limited kinds of colour-changing technology already exist. BMW, for example, unveiled a colour-changing concept car earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The BMW technology involves a kind of “e-ink,” which has been around for several decades and involves layers of very thin material activated by electric currents. The BMW colour range is currently limited to white and shades of grey, but it’s a step toward the future.
Trusscore is taking a different technical approach and aims to create wall-and-ceiling panels with a full range of colours, says project manager Chad Smithson.
With a PhD in chemical engineering and expertise in multi-layered printed electronics and ink technology, Smithson is part of Trusscore’s small material-science R&D team. The researchers are making use of the extensive lab facilities available in the University of Waterloo’s Velocity founder-support space in the Tannery building in downtown Kitchener.
Without support from UW and the shared lab equipment provided by Velocity, a young company like Trusscore couldn’t afford to pursue a future-oriented product like Digital Paint, says Caputo.
The product is “years away from commercialization,” he says, but the concept aligns with Trusscore’s focus on material science and its desire to disrupt the construction materials industry with more sustainable products.
Trusscore’s flagship product is a polymer alternative to drywall called Wall&CeilingBoard. The interlocking system allows for quick installation. And because the PVC-based material is recyclable and easy to remove, Trusscore says it’s a more sustainable alternative to gypsum-based drywall, which tends to produce toxic gas when buried in landfill sites.
Trusscore was built on groundwork laid by MSW Plastics, a Palmerston, Ont.-based manufacturer known for making panels that separate livestock and protect them from disease outbreaks, such as swine flu.
MSW caught the eye of Caputo several years ago. The serial entrepreneur had just finalized the sale of Sandvine Inc., an internet traffic management company, and was looking for a new project to sink his teeth into. He saw the MSW product as a potential alternative to drywall and a way to disrupt the construction materials business.
In 2019, Caputo teamed with MSW partners Joel Koops and Steve Bosman. Together, they relaunched the company as Trusscore.
Trusscore has made big strides in the past three years. In early 2020, it raised CDN$5.3 million in seed funding. In July 2021, it acquired Calgary-based Westech Building Products. And in fall 2021, it landed a Series A raise of CDN$26 million.
The company now operates manufacturing facilities in Palmerston, Ont., Calgary and Dayton, Ohio, and has an office in the Communitech Hub in Kitchener. Last month, it opened a retail showroom nearby at Victoria and Weber streets.