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A newly invented special ink allows objects to change their colors with ease.
A team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) has invented an ink that lets objects change colors when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) and other visible light sources. The team called it PhotoChromeleon Ink, a play on words associating the ink’s ability to change colors to a chameleon’s.
The ink was created by mixing special cyan, yellow, and magenta dyes into a solution that can be sprayed or painted onto an object. The colors can be controlled and manipulated using UV or different kinds of visible light. For example, using a blue light on an object deactivates the other colors in the solution, so the object projects a blue color.
To test the ink, objects coated with the solution were placed inside a box with a UV light and a projector. The UV light activated and deactivated certain colors, then the projector adjusted them to the appropriate shade. Once the colors were activated, the computer-generated patterns emerged.
The color-changing process can take from 15 to 40 minutes depending on the size and shape of the object. The process is reversible, so the patterns can be erased and changed infinitely.
The researchers said that with the special ink, people can easily personalize their things. Easy customization can preserve valuable resources and help consumers avoid buying the same item in different colors. With the customizable ink, waste will be lessened, and manufacturing will be more efficient.