A material that can mimic the functionality of octopus and squid skin has been developed by the researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana and University of Houston.
The newly created material has the quality of changing color so that it could match its surrounding environment. According to the scientists, the prototype material can currently change from white to black and vice-versa. But they are confident of developing a more complex next version that posses advanced mimicking ability. We understand the mechanics of camouflage.
Even if the designs are based on the skin of cephalopod skin (squid and octopi), they work slight differently than the skin of other ocean dwellers relatives, according to Value Walk.
Lead study researcher John Rogers, from the University of Houston, said, “There are analogies between layers of our system and those in the Octopus skin but all the actual function is achieved in radically different ways. The multi-layer architecture works really well, though. Evolution reached the same conclusion.”
By layering Rogers intends to talk about the process of pigmentation alteration. The skin of octopus constitutes three layers of cells which work in a combined form to result into the amazing adaptive properties. According to the researchers, the first two layers of cell produce red and yellow or green and blue pigments and the third level diffuses light so as to brighten or darken pigmentation of other levels.
Scientists explain the octopus is able to change its skin color when its muscles move the cell layers or chromatophores. This phenomenon allows a cephalopod to instantly change the color.
The scientists also said that they were not trying to copy the adaptive camouflage mechanics of cephalopods but they have reverse engineered a method to produce a material that somewhat resembles their quality and become their rough version.
Meanwhile, the researchers said that they are adding extra layers to include the ability to mimic color more effectively so that the material won’t be limited to just black and white. They are also using electric fields in a bid to speed up the material’s reaction by manipulating the cell layers in place of relying on heat.
Concluding the study, researchers said that they have somewhat succeeded in unlocking the mystery of methodology behind changing skin colors of cephalopods. But how an octopus or squid knows to exactly match the color of its immediate surroundings remain a big mystery for the scientists.