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Published: 19 Jun 2018

The Colour-Changing Fabric Controlled by a Smartphone

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ChroMorphous user-controlled colour-changing fabric

Scientists in Florida have developed an innovative colour-changing fabric that can be controlled with a smartphone app – opening up the exciting possibility of on-demand personalisation for a multitude of products.

Created by a team at College of Optics & Photonics (CREOL), part of the University of Central Florida, the smart ChroMorphous technology lets users decide when and how the change happens. Through the smartphone app, users can choose from a variety of predetermined colour and pattern options – for instance, a solid colour can be swapped for a striped pattern, or shifted into a different colour shade. 

The fabric is woven using threads that incorporate thin metal microwire. An electric current is passed through the wire, slightly raising the thread’s temperature. Special pigments embedded in the thread then respond to this altered temperature by changing colour. For small-scale uses, the fabric can be powered with a battery pack. 

Like traditional fabrics, ChroMorphous is produced on regular industrial-scale weaving machines and can be cut, sewn, washed and ironed. This makes it suitable for a variety of applications including fashion, accessories, upholstery and automotive textiles. Brands looking to create interactive and colourful spaces and products should consider the potential of this versatile technology.

The team is now working on producing thinner fibres in order to make the material smoother and more flexible, and hopes this development will help to successfully merge fashion and technology for seamless applications.  

For further colour-changing applications, see our A/W 18/19 Colour Direction Sci-BioFire: Colour-Changing Hair Dye and Colour-Changing Cocktails.

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