Watch this smart fabric change color at the touch of an appWe take a look at ChroMorphous, a new type of color-changing fabric developed by the University of Central Florida. We also explore other ways smart fabrics are evolving, including embroidered antennas at Ohio State.
What if you could instantly change the color of your clothing with a press of a button? It sounds wild, but it is real. Engineers at the University of Central Florida are weaving up a new type of smart fabric, where every inch of the material is wired. And it can be programmed to change color. It's just one of the latest ways technology is fusing with the fashion industry. [MUSIC] The technology is woven inside the fabric, itself. And with the help of an app, you can just press a button and change what color you want it to be, or perhaps a pattern. Let's say we're going to the beach. You [UNKNOWN] pick stripes. And slowly, it's heating up certain areas. So voila, you now have. A striped beach bag. Though it looks shiny there are no screens no lights the actual fibres are physical changing color. And it's happening through an engineering blend of color changing pigmnets, microwires and electricity. [MUSIC] The fabric is woven together with a traditional machine. But the threads are special, they're conductive. Inside the strand is a really thin copper wire and it's covered by a material that is made by a special pigment that changes colors when the temperature changes [UNKNOWN] To understand how this works, think back to your childhood. Did you ever play with toys that change colors in hot or cold water? I had little race cars that changed in different temperatures, It's the same chemistry at work with the fabric. But instead of using water to create that temperature change, [MUSIC] An electric current is creating the heat in the thread itself. A computer chip is connected and it's programmed to send a current through different threads, heating them up to create a pattern. All of it is powered by a rechargable lithium ion battery. It is just a little warm to the touch, but I wouldn't call is hot. You can definitely feel it's just a little warmer in the areas where Where the pigment changed colors. It's very flexible. It's got good bend to it, you don't have to worry about it. It's not very stiff. It's kinda like jeans. The wiring inside of that prototype purse is a bit messy when you look inside, but the researchers say the final product wouldn't look like that. It would only need one wire, and the chip would be smaller. Everything can be detached so it can be washed. It won't work with several designers, and we're hoping ot see it start working with larger-scale textile and fabric-based product manufacturers. Hopefully, this year. These first samples are programmed to show different types of stripes, but more complex patterns and shapes are possible. It can mix it up to four different colors. The next step for the team at UCLA is to make color changing dresses. The engineering challenge is to get the threads to be even thinner so the fabric can have more bounce and flow. We are still in the awkward early stages of smart fabrics. Google has teamed up with Levi's on a smart jean jacket, it can control music just by tapping an area on the sleeve Samsung is experimenting with a few garments. It sells a smart suit with NFC built into a button on the wrist. And there are few companies who need smarts into workout gear to track activity. But the future of these fabrics may also look something like this, an tennis embroidered right on the cloth as a patch. Researchers at Ohio State University Are developing antennas and power sources. They could stitched on anything. The goal is that the tech could be completely washable. These devices can be used to transmit data to boost cellphones reception or even control of video game. Looking into the future, I see a lot of sort of smart garments that people can use to interact with technology. Maybe that would be like augmented reality games or virtual reality with the ability to interact either gaming or smart phone devices just by wearing your clothes and moving accordingly. The future fashion promises new function. And also a little bit of fun. [MUSIC]