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Guy Eymin Petot Tourtollet's Wi-Fi-Blocking Wallpaper

Wallpaper That Protects Your Data
Guy Eymin Petot Tourtollet's Wi-Fi-Blocking Wallpaper
Photograph by Akatre for Bloomberg Businessweek

Forget those prim Laura Ashley floral patterns and opulent Louis XIV-style designs: Wallpaper’s no longer just about room atmospherics. High-tech versions emit light, purify the air, and even keep buildings from crumbling in bomb attacks. Now Guy Eymin Petot Tourtollet, 46, scientific director of the French pulp and paper research institute Centre Technique du Papier, has invented a snowflake-patterned wallpaper that blocks Wi-Fi signals, while still allowing FM radio and emergency frequencies to pass through.

Eymin Petot Tourtollet—he goes by all three last names—wanted to help people and businesses guard their Wi-Fi networks to improve data security and network speed. Alternatively, the barrier could be used to create Wi-Fi-free zones in homes, hospitals, and theaters for privacy and health reasons. “A lot of people want spaces where they are protected from electromagnetic waves,” he says, referring to potential hazards such as an increased risk of genetic damage and cancer. These have not been conclusively proven, but, he says, “in France there is very much concern about this.”