A team of scientists in South Korea have created a form of artificial skin designed after chameleon. Purpose-built to emulate the camouflage ability of a sneaky reptilian, the tech can be used with robotic animals to fantastical results.
Chameleon robot with artificial skin
Reported by Reuters, the artificial skin was developed by a team at Seoul National University. Led by mechanical engineering professor Ko Seung-hwan, the team successfully created faux skin that could change its colour.
The camouflaging is powered by a combination of thermochromic liquid crystal (TLC) ink and multiple layers of silver nanowire heaters. This means that, when attached to a robot chameleon, the team can make an object detect and mimic surrounding colours.
The real-time camouflaging is rather convincing. In one video, the robotic chameleon moved between sections of red, blue and green whilst changing its colour in real-time. If used in an outdoor environment, it’s not unthinkable to imagine the robot to be unperceivable.
The future of military camouflage
Ko Seung-hwan explains that the artificial skin is designed for use in the military. However, the tech does have other purposes. Outside of combat use, the engineer believes this camo could be used for fashion. He said:
“The flexible skin can be developed as a wearable device and used for fashion, military camouflage uniforms, exterior of cars and buildings for aesthetic purposes, and for future display technology.”