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Researchers develop chameleon-like artificial skin

A team of South Korean researchers has created the skin with a special ink that changes colour based on temperature. Koh Sang Hyun a mechanical engineer professor at Seoul national university leads a team of researchers that develop the colour changing skin the artificial camouflage technology that mimics the color changing ability of a chameleon is controlled by tiny flexible heaters.

Information about color is sent to a microprocessor. The microprocessor has information about required temperatures needed to make certain colours. So it gives orders to heaters to make certain temperatures and create a certain shade based on that. Sung Hyun says that he took inspiration from the colour changing mechanism of chameleons to create a variable device capable of changing its colour.

The total thickness of the flexible multi-layered artificial skin is less than 100 micrometers thinner than a human hair by adding additional silver nano wire layers in simple shapes such as dot lines or squares. The skin can create complex patterns. It consists of thermochromic liquid crystal layers that can change colour by temperature and then a layer of silver nano wire heaters underneath that can adjust temperature. The two layers are placed on a plastic substrate.

The total thickness of those three layers is only dozens of micrometers. So, it can be bent easily sung hyun envisions. His research can be adapted from military uniforms to health soldiers blend into their surroundings. It can also be used for aesthetic purposes such as for fashion exteriors of cars and buildings as well as for future display technology.

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