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New ‘Chameleon paint’ can be sprayed onto phones and shoes to customise them

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‘Chameleon paint’ based on the reptile’s skin changes colour in different lights thanks to reprogrammable ink which can be sprayed onto phones and shoes to customise them

  • ‘Chameleon’ paint allows people to change the colour of their treasured items 
  • It’s designed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory 
  • One researcher said that the tool will allow users to personalise their appearance
  • They mixed dyes together and exposed it to ultraviolet and other light sources

A new Chameleon paint which allows people to change the colour of their cars, phone cases and trainers as many times as they want has been created by MIT researchers. 

The reprogrammable ink changes the colour of an object after it is exposed to ultraviolet and visible light sources at different wave lengths.

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) designed the system, which has been dubbed ‘PhotoChromeleon’. 

One researcher said the tool will allow users to personalise their appearance and belongings multiple times in a variety of styles and colours. 

The chameleon paint was designed by a team from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) which has been dubbed 'PhotoChromeleon'

The chameleon paint was designed by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) which has been dubbed ‘PhotoChromeleon’

They created the ink by mixing cyan, magenta, and yellow photochromic dyes into a single sprayable solution.  

They were then able to understand how each of the different dyes interact at different wavelengths, which allowed them to control colour by manipulating the light sources.

It is a fully reversible process and one that can even be repeated an infinite number of times.

The so-called Chameleon paint will remain on an object, even if it is used outside in natural environments.

The researchers used three different lights with different wavelengths which allowed them to eliminate primary colours separately. 

This means that they were able to work out how the dyes interacted under different lights. 

The researchers used three different lights with different wavelengths which allowed them to eliminate primary colours separately

The researchers used three different lights with different wavelengths which allowed them to eliminate primary colours separately

For example, a blue light would be mostly absorbed by the yellow dye and be deactivated, while magenta and cyan dye would not absorb the light. 

This would lead to the colour blue being produced. 

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THE SECRET OF CHAMELEONS’ GLOW 

Chameleons are already known to use a ‘color-language’ based on the patterns on their skin.

But, a new study suggests their ‘hidden’ communication goes even further than previously thought.

Researchers in Germany have discovered that the bony projections, known as tubercles, found along the heads of many chameleon species glow a brilliant blue when exposed to UV light.  

According to the researchers, the patterns vary for different species and groups.

In the genus Calumma, the males were found to have far more of the fluorescent features than females.

As such, it may act as a way for the lizards to recognize other members of their groups.

Similarly, in magenta dye, green light would mostly be absorbed and deactivated while both yellow and cyan would remain, resulting in green. 

You can coat an object in the dye solution before placing it inside a box with a projector and UV light. 

The UV light will then saturate the colour, while the projector desaturates to whatever level is needed.  

 Once the light has activated the colors, the new pattern appears. 

If you aren’t satisfied with the design of the new pattern, you just have to use the UV light to erase it and start over. 

SAIL postdoc Yuhua Jin, the lead author on a new paper about the project, said: ‘This special type of dye could enable a whole myriad of customization options that could improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce overall waste.

‘Users could personalize their belongings and appearance on a daily basis, without the need to buy the same object multiple times in different colors and styles.’

You will be able to create multiple designs, including a zebra pattern, multicoloured flames and a sweeping landscape because of the huge host of colors. 

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