Chameleon sneakers that change color according to the light

MIT has developed an invisible ink that, under the effect of a projector and UV rays, can change the patterns or colors of an object such as a smartphone shell or a shoe, or soon a car and clothes.

PhotoChromeleon. As its name indicates, this technological process is inspired by chameleons to propose to change the color of an already produced object. How? ‘Or’ What? It is actually a mixture of photochromic dyes designed to change color once they have been applied to a surface.

Designed in an MIT laboratory, this invisible ink is an evolution of the ” ColorMod  ” process, which uses a 3D printer to make elements that can change color. Except that this technology was limited because each pixel could only have two states. This time, with PhotoChromeleon, you can create any pattern or reproduce any drawing, in a wide range of colors thanks to the use of primary colors, and their mixtures.

A reversible and infinite system

After printing is complete, the object is placed under a projector and UV light to reveal the colors from programs set-upstream. The ink is invisible, and the UV is there to saturate the ink, and thus go from transparent to color (cyan, magenta, yellow), while the projector is used to saturate the colors. The UV light can then be used as an eraser to return to the initial state.

In the video, above, we see that the engineers tested their process on a shoe, a smartphone shell, but also a car and a toy. One of the objectives of this technology would be to reduce waste and thus ultimately allow users to change the color of their shoes or their smartphone shells without being forced to throw them away. Other uses envisaged: in the army to camouflage, or in fashion to change the look according to his desires.