Thin, flexible material steals the color-shifting capabilities of cephalopod skin
J. Rogers/Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Scientists have swiped the secrets of certain sea creatures’ cloaking skills to create their own camouflaging material.
Some cephalopods, such as cuttlefish, can mimic colors and patterns in their environment using three-layered skin. Each layer, researchers previously found, has its own role: light-detecting cells at the skin’s lower surface trigger muscle cells in the middle to adjust pigment cells at the top.
Now researchers led by materials scientist John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have copied that format using silicon and a polymer. A bottom layer of photodetectors sense light and send wee electrical currents to actuators in the middle. These tiny devices convert the electrical signal to heat, which prompts a chemical in the top layer to change color. The researchers say the thin flexible material