A new way to change the colors of objects was developed by a team of scientists from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT.
Researchers have developed a method based on a programmable ink that allows a surface to change color when exposed to ultraviolet light or visible light rays at certain wavelengths. The system, called PhotoChromeleon, uses a certain ink made from liquid photochromatic dyes that can be sprayed or even painted. Once applied, the object can change color or colors depending on the light beam that illuminates it, a reversible process that can be repeated.
The system has already been tested on different types of objects, from smartphone cases to model cars, and the same researchers have created a video that has been published on YouTube.
And it is precisely in the area of personalization that such a system could find its best application, as Yuhua Jin, the main author of the study related to this project implies: “Users can personalize their personal effects and appearance on a daily basis, without having to buy the same object several times in different colors and styles.”
The researcher, together with his colleagues, adapted an already existing system called ColorMod, which however had to print every pixel on the object. Furthermore, the colors can only be two: the basic color of the object or transparent. This new method allows you to change all the desired colors, depending on the photochromic dye that is applied to the surface.
Each dye interacts with different wavelengths and therefore it is possible to control each “color channel” of the color, depending on the wavelength of the emitted light source, to activate or deactivate it as desired. The method involves placing the object in a box with a particular projector and an ultraviolet light that serves to “erase” the colors and start again.
The same researcher also thought of creating an interface for automatic processing of drawings and models, offering users a kind of autonomy for personalization. The coloring process takes 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the shape and size of the object.