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Fabric has user-controlled color and pattern function

June 11th, 2018 / By: / Out There

Photo: College of Optics and Photonics at the University of Central Florida.

The College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) announces that it has produced a fabric that allows the user to change the color or pattern of the fabric via smartphone. According to the university, CREOL’s ChroMorphous technology can be applied to large, woven fabrics and cut-and-sewn textile products.

Each thread woven into the fabric incorporates a thin metal micro-wire. An electric current flows through the micro-wires, slightly raising the thread’s temperature. Pigments embedded in the thread respond to the difference in temperature by changing color. Users can control when the color change happens and what pattern will appear on the fabric via an app; blue stripes could be added to a solid purple tote bag, for example.

“The capabilities of electronics constantly increase and we always expect more from our smartphones, so why haven’t textiles been updated? Can we expect an ever-expanding range of functionalities from our clothing? These were the questions we asked, and the foundation for creating the ChroMorphous technology that we began developing in 2016,” said Dr. Ayman Abouraddy, professor of Optics and Photonics at UCF.

The technology is reported to be scalable at mass-production levels via fiber-spinning and is currently produced in Melbourne, Fla., with CREOL’s collaborators at Hills Inc., a fiber extrusion technology company. The CREOL team is currently working with Hills to further reduce the diameter of the threads to produce fabrics for wide-scale market adoption. The patent-pending fabric is expected to be applied to the décor, furniture, and clothing and accessories markets.