Many cuttlefish and octopus have the remarkable ability of changing the hue of the skin for reflecting the surroundings better. Now one day, the same feat can be pulled out by soldiers, blending into the environment no matter where they go.
This is not the same seamless camouflage that is seen in the Harry Potter’s or Predators’ invisibility cloak. Octopuses have an astounding ability of expanding as well as contracting pigment cells that are located throughout the body. The texture and color is changed for looking like coral, sand and rocks in that area.
An excellent example of what octopuses can do was captured in a short video by fishing and diving enthusiast SpearoBlog, the diving and fishing enthusiast, snorkeling in Bora Bora. Things were taken a step further by Richard Hammond of BBC One. A cuttlefish was asked to blend with classic upholstery and a checkerboard pattern. Amazingly, the cuttlefish partially lived up to the challenge.
Now, experts at Rogers Research Group hope recreating the amazing natural ability in this synthetic material. John Rogers, the head of materials research group at of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign said that he thinks all the key elements that are needed are put together.
As per Rogers, a material comprised of thin and stacked dye layers, that are divided into pixels has been developed by him and his team. Normally, the dye is black but if heated at a specific temperature, it becomes transparent. Beneath the dye, a layer of reflective silver, which appears white to naked eye is found. Below that there is array of heating diodes. A sheet of photo detectors running throughout the material is the key here. Rogers told that “It’s really a beginning point, to focus on the engineering science around how you might create systems that have this type of function.”