Engineers have managed to create a chameleon-like artificial skin that will change colors on command and which could have some interesting long-term impacts on science and medicine.

Engineers at the University of California at Berkeley have created something that isn’t just impressive in physical composition – but in actual appearance, too. They have created a material that can mimic the behavior of a chameleon and change colors on command. All that is required is pressure or a twist, and the color will change – much like the chameleon changes colors by manipulating the positions of the tiny crystals that are inside its flesh.

Researcher Connie J. Chang-Hasnain, who led the study and co-authored the paper which was featured in Optica a science journal pointed out that this “is the first time anybody has made a flexible chameleon-like skin that can change color simply by flexing it.” The second “mirror” approach which is executed with this hybrid material creates a great situation for the science community as a whole when it comes to creating a product that could somehow make it to the market.

While it might seem like something that would only be good for certain things – there is a demand for this – since this is something that can give the exterior of different products a unique composition. This is something that could make its way onto physical products, as well as a scientific method that could be applied to pieces of technology, or any number of other things. This research essentially paves the way for a simple – chemical free approach to creating changing colors in a flexible skin-like product.

Whether we’re talking about the outer parts of a smartphone, tablet, computer, or even something more traditional – this application is something that can be easily reproduced and that’s something that is really impressive to this team and the rest of the science community.

Ultimately, this is how so many of the things we take for granted today are found to be. Creating from what we see in nature, and even mimicking what we see in nature – both contribute a great deal to pushing science, technology and so much more forward – even when we think we’ve done as much as we possibly could on a given subject.

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