Color Changing Fabric

Posted on May 18 2007 - 1:16am by John Weir

tvshirt.jpgColor-changing fabric” is one of my personal favorites in the domain of Wearable Electronics.Being able to change the color of my clothing as simple as to flip a switch or have it changed ‘automatically’ triggered by let’s say ambient light changes or temperature or – sometimes – by my well feeling, gives endless opportunities and possibilities for fashion designers.

According to Dr. Greg Sotzing from the University Connecticut, this comes one step closer to reality: Dr. Sotzing has created enhanced “electrochromic” polymers — a flexible material that changes color when an electrical charge is applied to it.

Electrochromic polymers have been around for a while, but they were too small and fragile to be practical, but Sotzing has found a way to make them long and flexible enough to be woven into cloth.

The trick for making the fibres useful for colour-changing fabrics, according to Williams, is to control the fibres on the scale of a single pixel.

Threads with different charges could be woven together with thin metal wires designed to deliver various voltages, with the intersection between a thread and a wire serving as a pixel.

Changing the voltage with an embedded battery would result in different colours.

This potentially goes beyond simply making your outfit that perfect shade of green; a jacket or shirt made from the polymers could actually serve as a TV screen for watching shows or serving up advertisements.

Ah – better take the TV back to be more realistic but nevertheless, changing the color partially on the complete clothing to adjust to different occasions would be of great benefit; no need to go home and change the dress / jacket.

About the Author