Octopus Photo by: Flickr/Joe Parks

Octopus Skin inspires Color-Changing Camouflage Tech

by / August 19, 2014

Researchers have developed a technology based on the skin of cephalopods -- which include squid, octopus and cuttlefish. This technology, according to a press release, allows a material to automatically read its environment and adapt to mimic its surroundings, creating the ultimate camouflage.


Researchers' octopus-inspired camouflage material spells out the letters "U o I" for University of Illinois. Photo credit: Cunjiang Yu et al.

"Our device sees color and matches it," said Cunjiang Yu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston. "It reads the environment using thermochromatic material."

More specifically, ultrathin layers that combine semiconductor actuators, switching components and light sensors with inorganic reflectors and organic color-changing materials are what make up the device's thin layers, and they allow autonomous matching to the device's background.

Currently the prototype works in black and white with shades of gray, but Yu said in the release that it could be designed to work in full color.

Applications for such technology are limitless; it could be applied in defense, toys, vehicles and wearable tech.