MIT creates reprogrammable ink that changes colors using light

Researchers at MIT have created a new programmable ink that offers some of the most interesting properties similar to a chameleon. MIT scientists at the Computer Science and Artificial intelligence Laboratory or CSAIL have created a programmable ink that brings us closer to inanimate objects that can change colors like the chameleon.

The ink is called PhotoChromeleon and uses photochromatic dyes that can be sprayed or painted onto a surface of any object to change its color. The process is said to be fully reversible. MIT says that the PhotoChromeleon material could be used to customize anything form a phone case to a car or shoes.

The team says that users would be able to personalize their belongings and appearance on a daily basis. The ink can create anything users can think of from zebra patterns to a landscape or multicolored flames. The team created the ink by mixing cyan, magenta, and yellow photochromatic dyes into a single sprayable solution.

The team says that by understanding how each dye interacts with different wavelengths, the team could control each color channel via activating and deactivating the corresponding light sources. The team says that if you use blue light, it was mostly absorbed by the yellow dye and deactivated.

Cyan and magenta would remain resulting in blue. The green light would be mostly absorbed by magenta leaving yellow and cyan, resulting in green. The patterns can be activated by using a box with a projector and UV light that saturates the colors from transparent to visible. In testing, the process took between 15 and 40 minutes and all the patterns created had high resolutions and could be erased when desired.