You say red, I say blue. You say green, I say yellow. Now we can get along. Researchers around the world are using materials science to give fabrics, flowers, light fixtures, even eyeballs color-changing capabilities. Here we look at 10. Above: Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley developed anultra-thin silicon material
that can change color when flexed or when a small amount of force is applied to the surface. The new technology provides flexibility and precision in generating specific colors, paving the way for new advancements in display technology, camouflage materials or even to someday infuse color into buildings or bridges.
TheVolvorii Timeless smart shoe
can change colors and patterns --; polka dots, stripes or other designs -- through an app that is controlled by a smartphone. The shoes, which were supported by an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, will start at $249 and are expected to be available in December of 2015.
is using melanin-targeting laser technology to break down the pigment on the outer layers of brown irises to give customers permanently blue eyes. The company says the process takes only about 20 seconds and the color change is visible within four weeks. The procedure isn’t yet FDA-approved and experts have expressed safety concerns about the long-term effects that would first need to be addressed.
(RevBio), based in Colorado, has genetically modified flowers to change color continuously throughout the day when activated by a dilute ethanol, such as beer. Some flowers can change from, say, pink to blue and back again. Others change from white to red on demand. According to RevBio, if you know which enzyme is not working in a flower, the process can be fixed and the flower can gain color again by watering the plant with a dilute ethanol.
SOLS, a startup for customized orthotic insoles, is developing a new 3D-printed sneaker line called ADAPTIV that incorporates biomechanics, fashion and robotics. The shoe uses a system of gyroscopes and pressure sensors to alert the shoe’s adaptive materials to adjust air pressure and fluids to support body motions. It also allows for constant monitoring of health stats and incorporates color-sensing cameras with RGB-adjustable LED lights to change color to match different outfits.
, a project being developed by researchers at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, is investigating ways to use electronic fabric that can change its own visual properties by harnessing power directly from the body. When woven into fabrics, the garments will change color in response to physical movement. Researchers, however, believe it will be about 20 to 30 years before these fabrics reach stores.
Solid Apollo LED
LED lighting companySolid Apollo LED
recently unveiled color-changing lighting fixtures. Perfect for entertainment rooms and bars, the three-knob color control and wireless remote control can play one of 29 color-changing programs and provides more than 16,000 colors on any RGB LED strip light or lighting fixture.
unveiled a new handbag that can change colors by pressing a button on an app. The bag can be programmed to flash a custom lightshow synchronized to a song or flash a selected color when the user receives a phone call. In addition, the bags are capable of charging a smartphone, tablet or another personal electronic device. The handbags retail between $499 and $699 and are now available for pre-order on the company’s website.
WithE Ink Prism
, large, rectangular tiles can change color on demand. Power is required -- in very small amounts -- when the colors actually change. With this new material, architects could create more versatile and cost-effective designs and eliminate the need to paint buildings or rooms.