Colour Changing Shoes By MIT Research Lab – Over the last five years, the team here at WTVOX has been at the forefront of fashion innovation. By covering how the adoption of innovative technology reshapes the fashion landscape, we have witnessed the emergence of a new breed of fashion creator, the ‘fashion tech‘ designer.
These highly creative individuals have a keen desire to explore and employ the latest technological breakthroughs to give fashion new colours, styles, and shapes. If early years have seen experts playing with smart sensors and LED lights, more recent research looks into biology and chemistry, to elevate the fashion of tomorrow.
Latest innovation? Colour changing shoes, and not only. Let’s start by imagining your favourite pair of shoes. Your favourite label, made of eco-friendly and cruelty-free materials, and you’re in love with their design.
However, these shoes do not match the dress you have in mind for dinner. Your shoes are red, but what you want is a dark-blue plum, and, depending on the pieces of jewellery you’re going to wear, maybe a bit of golden touch.
Finally, experts have solved the colour changing shoes or dresses problem. Researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have created a new type of ink that allows the wearers to change the colours of their shoes, garments and accessories.
Drawing inspiration from the chameleon’s capacity to adapt to the surrounding environment, sprayable ink called ‘PhotoChromeleon’, is a blend of photochromic dyes.
The colour-changing ink is reprogrammable. When exposed to UV rays, each photochromic colourant combines with a different light wavelength. So far, the experts have isolated various colour channels that can be activated or deactivated.
And now know, they also how to control the colours’ appearance on the object’s surface.
The ‘PhotoChromeleon’ ink can be applied to everything: dresses, sneakers, bags, or accessories. The painting process is fast, lasting between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the sprayed product.
The painted product must be exposed to UV, in a specially made box. The box contains a projector that saturates and desaturates colours.
“This specific type of dye enables an entire world of design customisations in fashion. Not only that we can now create ‘colour changing shoes and dresses at home, but this technology will reduce waste in the fashion industry by improving manufacturing efficiency”, says Yuhua Jin, lead researcher, when talking about the project.
The UV-box links to a GU interface intended to help with the design and redesign of visual elements, new colours and patterns.
The user can choose the design elements, colours, and have a preview of the final look, before assigning the product with the new light-activated design work.
“With this innovative technology, wearers could personalise their shoes and garments on a daily basis. No longer required to buy the same shoes or dress in different colours”, added Stefanie Mueller, professor at MIT.
The ‘PhotoChromeleon’ is a fully reversible ink which means you can change your latest pink shoes into black, and pink again.
It is worth noting is that to date, the team was able to create only specific colours, with magenta and cyan still under development.
When asked, the team stated that it plans to develop and launch all rainbow colours by the end of 2020.
But for now, inks such as fluorescent green and neon red are excellent examples of what’s coming, from an innovation and entertainment point of view.
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