How Researchers Got a Robot to Change Colors Like a Chameleon

Tiny surfaces are key.

Researchers in China unveiled a 3-D printed robotic chameleon that uses tiny displays to change its color and blend into its surroundings. The displays are made of glass perforated with a nanoscopic grid of gold-filled holes. Light sensors recognize the background color and automatically apply the appropriate electric field to match the display color to its surroundings.

So far, the sensors are only able to recognize red, green, and blue, but the team hopes to further develop the technology to one day detect any color, creating an adaptive and immersible camouflage system.