In the mood to wear multicolored, patterned shoes but only own boring white ones? A special ink out of MIT lets objects change color when exposed to certain kinds of light. The best part? The color swap can easily be reversed, making for endless customization — and, presumably, less 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,” Yuhua Jin, a postdoc from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and lead author on a paper about the “PhotoChromeleon” project, said in a statement.
To make the ink, the MIT team dissolved photosensitive cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes into a transparent lacquer. Shining a UV light on the dyes brings them to full saturation. The researchers previewed the desired color and patterns on 3D computer models of objects they wanted to transform, then placed the real objects into a box with a projector and lights that can activate and deactivate different colors via a computer program. Voila! Custom, erasable, colored objects.
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