Seoul: South Korean scientists have developed a soft robot that changes color like a chameleon and becomes part of the background, making it difficult to see.
Let’s say that the real thing in this invention is not the robot itself but its soft skin which changes its color when electricity passes in a certain way.
Changing colors to become part of the background to avoid predators and invaders is a special tactic of chameleons and other such animals, also known as “active camouflage”.
The same natural ability of the chameleon has been artificially created in the soft skin of the robot.
Experts hope that with the help of this technology, in the future, fabrics can be made that can quickly change their color and design to suit the surrounding environment.
In this way, the wearer will also become a part of their background and it will be very difficult to see.
Creating an instant-color-changing synthetic fur, like a chameleon, is a difficult task because the system required for it is so complex that in addition to constantly monitoring its surroundings, it must also be able to quickly change the color of the fur as needed. Coins
In the latest issue of the online research journal Nature Communications, Seung Huan of Seoul National University and his colleagues describe in their article how they overcame this problem.
According to the article, they devised a new strategy using layers called “thermochromic liquid crystal layers”. This material is practically the same as used in LCD monitors today. However, it also has the added ability to change color at changing temperatures.
These layers were connected by networks of very thin (nanometer-sized) wires of silver that were stacked on top of each other, that is, vertically.
They were connected to color sensors and feedback control systems to create an artificial skin that could change color according to the environment around it.
Finally, the fur was applied to the body of a soft robot, thus creating a “soft robot that changes color like a chameleon.”
So far, the performance of this fur has been demonstrated in experiments, which have shown that this artificial fur changes its color immediately according to the changing color of its surroundings.
However, this is still the initial stage in which, after success, these experts will further improve the skin and make it usable in the practical field.
The biggest challenge in this regard is to increase the area of this artificial fur and maintain its performance. On the other hand, it is also important to improve the resolution in the patterns formed on the surface of the skin.