More recently, only the heroes of fairy tales could afford to see everything around, while remaining invisible. Today, "invisible" technologies are becoming part of our everyday reality.
A new technology called "adaptive camouflage" was developed at the University of Illinois by a group of materials researchers led by John Rogers.
The chameleon surface is a soft plastic substrate with cells imprinted into it and supplied with a heat-sensitive dye. Each square is made up of 16 tiny cells about a millimeter in size. The dye "prefers" to react with a black color at ordinary room temperature, and at a temperature of about 50 degrees it becomes transparent.
Each cell is equipped with a tiny photocell that senses the light intensity. Using the signal received from the photocell, it is possible to control the supply of current, which heats the dye. So, it is enough to light the material, and it turns from black to transparent.
And yet, in a sense, this is plagiarism, since nature has already embodied this idea millions of years ago in an octopus disguising itself on the seabed, thanks to special light-sensitive molecules that not only "select" the desired color, but also imitate the texture of its surface.