The Mobile World Congress that was being held in Barcelona this year saw an ample number of new and interesting technological innovations, from Motorola’s rolling smartphone to Xiaomi’s wireless AR glasses. One of these innovations belongs to Tecno, a first-timer at the MWC show, which unveiled its brand new Chameleon Color-changing Technology that can be applied to a variety of different gadgets and others, upon the evolution of research. In this segment, we shall have a complete update about this technology, so stay tuned and go on to read the complete article.
The ability of chameleons to constantly change their skin colors and tones according to the needs of their survival has long interested curious minds. Reiterating the science behind it and applying it to create vibrant gadgets was an exciting one.
However, the evolution of this technology by the scientific community all over the world has been a long process of experimentation. Many have tried their hands at recreating such technicalities, with one of the first major inventions being made by a group of Chinese scientists at Tsinghua University in 2017 who created a color-changing electronic skin that is used interactively and could change colors with a nominal application of strain.
Another interesting attempt was made by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab in 2019 to develop a system called PhotoChromeleon that used a mix of photochromic dyes made of reprogrammable ink and could be painted on any surface of an object to undergo a visual update. Any product, from shoes to phone cases, could be customized with 100 percent reversibility.
Chameleon Color-Changing Technology: Scientific Details
A sneak peek into the science behind this technology reveals that there is a grid of sub-micron prism material that is used in this technology. The sub-micron prism scatters light as it falls upon it. We know that when light falls at a particular angle on a prism, it refracts into several colors of different frequencies. A similar yet more nuanced concept is used to build this.
Chameleon coloring technology is a full-spectrum electrically controlled prism made up of a very specific sub-micron prism material that is able to change directions when an electric field is applied to it. The material can now scatter light depending on the calibration of the parameters, and one can get a range of colors on the gadget, appliance, or wherever it is used. One can manually change the color out of the 1600 different colors just by a click or even resort to having the computer automatically choose its own hues out of the whole electromagnetic spectrum based on its preexisting software settings.
Interestingly, it takes only 0.03 seconds for the shift of color and can be done up to an upper limit of 2 million times. The power consumption ought to be negligible in carrying out this unique feature.
This technology seems to be a little bit different from the one the Chinese brand launched with the Tecno Camon 19 Pro Mondrian Edition back in 2020, which featured Polychromatic Photoisomer Technology. The back panel could change colors when exposed to UV radiation from sunlight.
Applications In Various Fields
One might think this is one of the first applications of this technology, but surprisingly, it is not. Ok, in fact, there are quite a few instances where similar kinds of color-changing technology have been put to use, such as in the following:
The CES event of 2022 featured the unveiling of the first color-changing car by the premium German carmaker company BMW, the concept car BMW iXFlow. It used an electronic ink technology that enabled the surfacing of different patterns. Although it could swing between just two colors, gray and white, the company swore to bring in more color palettes. It’s an innovation that is pretty promising.
This year’s CES 2023 also witnessed the launch of another spectacular concept, a milestone in the same category, with the same brand, BMW, presenting the i Vision DEE. This one also used the same E-ink technology, but now the range goes up to 32 solid colors. The company made sure to scale up the innovative meter higher because i Vision DEE can switch its exterior color faster than a chameleon according to your mood and weather. Really fascinating, right?
Back in 2018, color-changing technology was applied to clothes and textiles. In ChroMorphus technology, as developed by a team of researchers at the University of Central Florida, users could control the colors and patterns of a fabric with the use of a mobile application. The microwires inside the threads of the fabric, once excited by the passage of current, increased their temperatures, and thus the thermochromic pigment of the cloth could change colors. This amazing technique could invariably be used in tote bags or designer clothes to reduce waste and the need to buy extra products.
Well, color-changing technologies are still evolutionary concepts that are being updated every day by experts. When it comes to smartphones having this feature, there are few on the market that already have similar characteristics, like another Chinese brand called Vivo Y100 with a color-changing back panel. However, there are certain drawbacks, like a limited color panel, which might not be the case with Tecno’s ambitious announcement. We will definitely look forward to a future where such inventions in our daily gadgets add more vibrancy and break the binary shades of our monotonous lives.
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