SUFFICIENTLY ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY

recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

Your true colors start to show

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totalrecallDr. Yadong Yin has figured out a way to mimic nature’s iridescent colors in a controlled manner using magnetochromatic microspheres. Butterfly wings, bird’s feathers and other naturally occurring iridescence is caused by light waves cancelling each other out in some places and reinforcing them in others, as the Economist explains. Dr. Yin does it by using a magnetic field to rearrange the microstructures of incredibly tiny iron oxide polymer beads suspended in oil.

Earlier reports noted that the bead goo was liquid, so its practical applications were limited. But now Dr. Yin has progressed to where the bead goo only has to be liquid when it’s actively changing color. This opens up possibilities for ink, textiles, environmentally safer paint, and posters that can be updated in situ – just heat it up, change the colors however you like, then let it cool and solidify again.

Personally I’m thinking of fun with nail polish and lipstick, like the receptionist in Total Recall.

(Title lyric is from A.F.I..)

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Written by chris

June 25, 2009 at 9:14 pm

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