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10 Inventions Change Colour on Demand: Photos
By Renee Morad,
Discovery News, 29 April 2015.

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 colour-changing capabilities. Here we look at 10.

1. Chameleon-Like Material

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Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley developed an ultra-thin silicon material that can change colour when flexed or when a small amount of force is applied to the surface. The new technology provides flexibility and precision in generating specific colours, paving the way for new advancements in display technology, camouflage materials or even to someday infuse colour into buildings or bridges.

2. High Heels

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The Volvorii Timeless smart shoe can change colours 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 crowd-funding campaign, will start at US$249 and are expected to be available in December of 2015.

3. Eye Colour

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California-based Stroma Medical 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 colour 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.

4. Flowers

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Revolution Bioengineering (RevBio), based in Colorado, has genetically modified flowers to change colour 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 colour again by watering the plant with a dilute ethanol. [More at Indiegogo]

5. Sneakers

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SOLS, a start-up 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 colour-sensing cameras with RGB-adjustable LED lights to change colour to match different outfits.

6. Chameleon-Inspired Fabric

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Karma Chameleon, 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 colour in response to physical movement. Researchers, however, believe it will be about 20 to 30 years before these fabrics reach stores.

7. Light Fixtures

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LED lighting company Solid Apollo LED recently unveiled colour-changing lighting fixtures. Perfect for entertainment rooms and bars, the three-knob colour control and wireless remote control can play one of 29 colour-changing programs and provides more than 16,000 colours on any RGB LED strip light or lighting fixture.

8. Handbags

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VanDerWaals unveiled a new handbag that can change colours 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 colour 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 US$499 and US$699 and are now available for pre-order on the company’s website.

9. Walls

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With E Ink Prism, large, rectangular tiles can change colour on demand. Power is required - in very small amounts - when the colours actually change. With this new material, architects could create more versatile and cost-effective designs and eliminate the need to paint buildings or rooms.

10. Ice Cream

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Credit: Cocinatis

This ice cream, called Xameleon, changes from purple to pink when licked. Spanish physicist-turned-cook Manuel Linares won’t divulge his recipe, but says the ice cream is made from natural ingredients.

Top image: The “chameleon skin” material. Credit: The Optical Society via Discovery News.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and some links added.]

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