Imagine not having to settle for buying your favorite shoes in blue or red. Instead, being able to buy one pair of shoes and the color-changing depending on how you feel each day. Maybe you would even want to add multicolor flames or a zebra print. PhotoChromeleon Ink, a reprogrammable ink might let you do just that. It was developed by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and changes the color of an object when exposed to light. CSAIL mixed cyan, magenta, and yellow photochromic dyes into a solution that is sprayed on objects. The coated object is then placed in a box with a projector and UV light. Users then map the color or pattern they want into a program, which uses the UV light to activate or deactivate colors.


If you aren’t happy with the design, you can use the UV light to erase and start again. The process can take between 15 and 40 minutes. To create PhotoChromeleon CSAIL build off its previous ColorMod system, which 3D printed items that can change color. Each pixel had to be individually printed however so the final result had low resolution. PhotoChromeleon Ink offers high resolution with a wide range of colors and patterns. This is something that will be amazing to see applied to footwear, especially 3D printed footwear.


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