Scientists over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Duke University have taken interest in the remarkable ability of the octopus to camouflage instantaneously whenever it so pleases. Now what happens when they apply this handy technology to soldiers and tanks? You get a pretty decent replica of the cephalopod’s pigment sacs thanks to some silicone elastomers that contain specialized molecules that respond to force. The devices, no bigger than a quarter, include a gold-plated protective insulator that allow electric voltage to control them without causing any damage. So when voltage is applied, the elastomer stretches to produce surface deformations and pigment variations in the form of circles, lines and even letters. Cut the voltage off and, voila, the elastomer goes back to it’s relaxed state. Pretty freaking cool if you ask me. They also plan to use the fancy new technology for ship hulls in the future. While this is all well and good, I really hope they make an octopus suit of sorts available to the general public – it would make my daily excursions so much more fun.
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