Cephalopods Inspire New Technology, From Camouflaged Uniforms to Disappearing Cars

Written by on August 22, 2014 in Other Marine Life, Technology

Back in January, we learned that cuttlefish, masters of camouflage, were inspiring researchers to develop better camouflaging materials.

And that’s exactly what happened.

Cuttlefish displaying different colors and patterns.

Cuttlefish displaying different colors and patterns. Photo credit: mariusz kluzniak via photopin cc.

Researchers have successfully developed an “optoelectronic camouflage system” that was inspired by the skin of cephalopods (octopuses, squid and cuttlefish). This new technology allows a material to automatically read its environment and adapt to mimic its surroundings.

This is different than other technology, Cunjiang Yu, lead author and assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston, explained in a news release. Unlike previous camouflage systems which couldn’t automatically adapt, “our device sees color and matches it. It reads the environment using thermochromatic material.”

The prototype is less than one-inch square and works in black and white, with shades of gray, but it could easily be scaled up in size and could eventually span the full color spectrum.

Defense and industry are the most valuable applications for this technology, but Yu explained that the possible market ranges from toys and wearable electronics to disappearing cars.

To learn more:

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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