Materials

'PhotoChromeleon' Lets Objects Change Color – Even Cars

A team from MIT introduces a system that uses reprogrammable ink to let objects change colors when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) and visible light sources. Called “PhotoChromeleon,” the system uses a mix of photochromic dyes that can be sprayed or painted onto the surface of an object. The process is fully reversible and can be repeated infinitely. The researchers say the system could be used to customize anything from a phone case to a car. Ford Motor Co. has been working with MIT on a previous version of the technology through an alliance collaboration. “This ink could reduce the number of steps required for producing a multicolor part, or improve the durability of the color from weathering or UV degradation. One day, we might even be able to personalize our vehicles on a whim," says Alper Kiziltas, technical specialist of sustainable and emerging materials at Ford.