Again, scientists are inspired by nature in their work, and here – intensely so. Author Yuhua Jin, Isabel Qamar, Michael Wessely, Aradhana Adhikari, Katarina Bulovic, Parinya Punpongsanon and Stefanie Mueller explain their latest work in & # 39; Photo-Chromeleon: Re-Programmable Multi-Color Textures With Photochromic Dyes. & # 39;
As the fascination of the chameleon continues through the ages, no one has ever been able to replicate the magic of their color-changing skin. However, MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory team uses a touch of this phenomenon on their latest 3D printing efforts, creating a reprogrammable ink that changes colors upon exposure to UV and other light sources. The PhotoChromeleon system consists of many dyes sprayed onto an object's surface ̵
1; allowing color to be changed as needed.
of each dye, we can control each color channel in the solution separately, "the authors say." Our method can transform manufacturing techniques of single materials, such as coating, into high-resolution, multi-color processes. "
We can create reprogrammable (a) We mixed CMY photochromic colors together to create our color in multiple colors. (b) After coating the object, we use (c) a UV light source and a projector to check each color channel on a pixel-by-pixel base, resulting in high-resolution multicolor structures that can be reapplied several times.  The potential for customization is exciting, allowing for use not only in natural environments (where the color persists after it has been applied due to of the bi-stable nature), but also other applications such as paint for cars, telephone bags and even fashion goods such as shoes.
"This particular dye can allow a whole host of customization options that could improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce overall waste," said CSAIL postdoc Yuhua Jin and lead author. "Users could customize their belongings and appearance on a daily basis, without having to purchase the same item multiple times in different colors and styles."
(a) CMY ink mixed together achieves black, matching (b) CMY color model.
Using the latest ColorMod system, the PhotoChromeleon ink allows users to create complex designs and even "sweeping landscapes" in multiple colors. A user interface creates patterns and patterns, and then the program transfers it to the object. When an object is coated and then placed under UV light, the colors vary from transparent to & # 39; full saturation & # 39; and can be desaturated as desired, with the entire process for the user taking from 15 to 40 minutes. Constructions can also be easily erased with UV light.
"By giving users the independence to individualize their objects, countless resources can be preserved and the opportunities to creatively change your favorite objects are limitless," says MIT professor Stefanie Mueller.
At present, there are still some boundaries in the color field, and in some cases researchers have to settle for only getting as close to a specific shade as possible; however, they plan to work with material scientists to complete the entire color palette.
"We believe that incorporating new, multi-photochromic paint into traditional materials can add value to Ford products by reducing the cost and time required to make car parts," Dr. Alper Kiziltas, technical specialist for sustainable and new materials at Ford. “This ink can reduce the number of steps required to produce a multicolored part or improve the durability of the color from weather biting or UV degradation. One day we might even be able to adapt our vehicles to an impact. ”
Jin authored the paper with CSAIL mailing documents Isabel Qamar and Michael Wessely. Former MIT UROP students Aradhana Adhikari and Katarina Bulovic contributed as well as MIT alumni and current associate professor of technology at Osaka University Parinya Punpongsanon and Stefanie Mueller.
Former MIT UROP student Aradhana Adhikari received the Morais and Rosenblum Best UROP Award for his contributions to the project.
While this is a complex and useful system with the potential to be used for 3D printing enthusiasts around the world, nature has been noted as inspiration in various projects from manufacturing of conductive parts to recyclable liquid polymers, replication of other complexes structures and more. What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion about this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.
(a) Apply the photochromic coating and (b) the resulting coated object after UV activation.
Same shoe with two different structures to match a user's daily outfit.