Octopus-Inspired Artificial Muscle Can Change Color and Shape Depending on Light πŸ™πŸ’ͺπŸ’‘

Certain marine animals have a unique ability to camouflage not only the color of their skin, but also the pattern as well. This technique is often seen in, but not limited to, octopi. Many scientists have been studying this genetic advantage to apply similar technology to aspects of human life.Β 


Researchers from Rutgers University have created a 3D-printed smart gel that changes shape when exposed to light. The material was inspired by a class of mollusks, cephalopods (squids, octopi, or cuttlefish to name a few), that have chromatophores on their skin that allows them to change its color and pattern.

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The gel can change color and shape when exposed to light and can become an β€œartificial muscle.” This technology can be utilized to engineer new military camouflage, soft robotics, and flexible displays.Β 


The researchers used multimaterial projection microstereolithography to incorporate three components of the gel that give it its unique properties. photoactive hydrogel composite with polydopamine nanoparticles (PDA-NPs), acrylic acid hydrogel, and poly(ethylene glycol) diacrylate make up the basicΒ  components of the gel. Artificial chromatophores on the nanoparticles give the material its light-responsive properties.Β 

In their study, the researchers mainly focused on the effectiveness of their light-responsible artificial chromatophores (LACs). Further investigation is needed to understand durability, sensitivity, and scalability before we would see its practical uses.Β 

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