A soft-bodied robot that can change its colour to match its background like a chameleon has been built.
According to Professor Seung Hwan Ko from Seoul National University, camouflage is the most likely application of this technology.
He said that it could be used to make clothes and buildings react to the environment.
The research is published in Nature Communications.
Researchers used “thermochromic crystal ink”, which is a thermochromic ink that changes in colour as you heat it, and “silver microwire heaters” to make the skin colour change.
Researchers said that the resulting color changes were comparable to those seen in animals.
It has colour sensors beneath, so it can detect colours on surfaces. However, the robot can’t replicate complex patterns. Instead, it uses a variety of patterns that help to blend in.
But because the colour change is caused by heating and cooling the “skin”, some experts have wondered about the effect that ambient temperature may have on its chameleon-like abilities.
Professor Ko stated that, while this technology may be useful in making military camouflage to match its background in the future, it could also be applied for active clothing that is worn simply out of aesthetic considerations.
He said, “You might imagine a cloth changing its colours and patterns depending on your tastes or the environment.”
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Publiated at Tue 10 August 2021 20:44.22 +0000