Researchers in South Korea have created a special artificial skin.
The skin can change its colours to match its surroundings, just like chameleons. It is less than 100 micrometres thick – thinner than a human hair! The team used a special liquid crystal ink to create the material, which is made up of several layers of tiny heaters. Then they placed it onto a robot with colour-detecting sensors. When the robot walks over different environments, its skin almost instantly changes to match the background.
Dr Seung Hwan Ko, a mechanical engineering professor at Seoul National University, explained the technology to Reuters news agency: “The colour information detected by sensors is transferred to a microprocessor and then to silver nanowire heaters. Once the heaters reach a certain temperature, the thermochromic liquid crystal layer changes its colour.” The research was published in Nature Communications and could lead the way for artificial camouflage technology in the future.