Some researchers from Korea have come up with a robotic chameleon that has more or less all the features and traits that the original reptile has.
Chameleons are known for their ability to turn around their eyes and change colours according to their environment. The researchers were able to develop all these features in their robotic chameleon. They have incorporated similar eyes, the ability to crawl, and the ability to change colours according to the surrounding. The ability to change colour was provided by giving the robotic chameleon an artificial electronic skin. It will enable instant and automatic change of colours. It is the first robot to have a colour-changing feature.
Even though the robot may not have significant use, the technology used can lead to interesting innovations in the future. It can be made use for next-generation active camouflage for military applications. It can also be made use in the fashion industry to create clothing that can change colour according to the background.
The electronic skin can not only change colours but can also display different patterns on the surface of the robot. The robot is not reflecting the colour like a real chameleon. Sukjoon Hong says that the robot’s skin doesn’t call for a perfect reflection of its background. The skin is made of a glaze of liquid crystal ink. It enables the production of any colour just by the rearrangement of its molecules. The particles in it can be arranged into larger helical structures that can reflect any colour and it can be done within half a second. It is the size of the particles that define the colour the skin produces. Patterns are produced by activating several heater patterns together.