Scientists and engineers at MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) has invented a new ink — called PhotoChromeleon Ink — that is capable of changing colors and patterns when exposed to UV Light.
The color-changing effect is achieved by mixing cyan, magenta and yellow photochromic dyes into a solution which can then be sprayed onto various objects, such as toys, sneakers, or even cars. The item is then placed under a UV light and users can pick and choose different colors and patterns they want on a computer program. Once confirmed, the UV light will activate and deactivate certain colors across the coated area, revealing exactly what the user chose. Natural light would not affect the ink, and users can easily scrap the design and start again with another UV blast that acts as an erazer. According to MIT, objects such as sneakers or toy models can take anywhere between 15-40 minutes for the process to complete.
Postdoc. Yuhua Jin of CSAIL who is also the lead author on the project’s paper said that: “This special type of dye could enable a whole myriad of customization options that could improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce overall waste. Users could personalize their belongings and appearance on a daily basis, without the need to buy the same object multiple times in different colors and styles.”
The market is already taking note of this new invention. Ford’s sustainable and emerging materials expert Dr. Alper Kiziltas commented: “This ink could reduce the number of steps required for producing a multicolor part, or improve the durability of the color from weathering or UV degradation. One day, we might even be able to personalize our vehicles on a whim.”
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