Tired of owning a red car? In the future, you won’t have to limit yourself to a boring monochrome finish — with the push of a button, your car could change colors like a chameleon.
A team of researchers at MIT have invented a “reprogrammable ink” that allows you to “paint” pretty much any pattern on a surface using a projector and UV light.
By combining cyan, magenta, and yellow dyes that react to light, the team created a special spray they call PhotoChromeleon, which can be applied to pretty much any surface, including shoes, toys and phone cases.
Then, a UV projector can “program” combinations of colors onto the object’s surface — a process that takes anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes.
UV light can also be used to erase the existing design and replace it with something different an infinite number of times, according to a statement.
And that means a huge potential to reduce waste by simply changing the color or pattern of a phone case, a notebook, a pair of shoes — or even an entire car — instead of buying a new one.
“This special type of dye could enable a whole myriad of customization options that could improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce overall waste,” MIT postdoc and lead author of the project’s paper Yuhua Jin said in the statement.
READ MORE: MIT’s color-changing ink could let you customize your shoes [Engadget]