Synthetic systems cannot easily mimic the color-changing abilities of animals such as cephalopods. Soft machines—machines fabricated from soft polymers and flexible reinforcing sheets—are rapidly increasing in functionality. This manuscript describes simple microfluidic networks that can change the color, contrast, pattern, apparent shape, luminescence, and surface temperature of soft machines for camouflage and display. The color of these microfluidic networks can be changed simultaneously in the visible and infrared—a capability that organisms do not have. These strategies begin to imitate the functions, although not the anatomies, of color-changing animals.
Camouflage and Display for Soft Machines
Stephen A. Morin, Robert F. Shepherd, Sen Wai Kwok, Adam A. Stokes, Alex Nemiroski, George M. Whitesides
Science 17 August 2012:
Vol. 337 no. 6096 pp. 828-832