Leave it up to Art Lebedev Studio to recast something as basic as the paint roller in an entirely new light. Their Valikus roller is made from silicon and embossed with a floral pattern. Behind it sits a second roller, which applies paint to the first roller. (Frankly speaking, I can’t work out how that second roller is loaded in the first place.)
A steady-handed user can then apply a pattern to a wall thusly:
The tricky part was getting the pattern dense enough to read as a whole, but sparse enough to deal with the eyeballed edge-to-edge alignments. “It has to be both simple and complex at the same time,” the team writes. “[The pattern must] align with different [passes] which [are] unavoidable in real life.” They experimented with different patterns, which you can see below and read about here.
I think the real challenge would the limitations of the user’s height, and keeping the pressure of the stroke even from high to low. If I tried to continue a stroke upwards by dragging a ladder over, I have no faith I’d be able to line the pattern up again.
In any case, it’s a cool concept. Oh wait a sec—not a concept; it’s actually in production! The Valikus goes for 33 Euros, or about US $36.