Is it a blue dress or a white dress? We all remember being asked that question. The answer is all about how you perceive it. At first glance you might have seen a blue dress, then once someone told you it was a white dress, it may have changed before your very eyes. If you thought that was cool, then you’re in for a treat. The ability to change the colour of your clothing at your own prompting may be the new up and coming trend.
Thanks to researchers at the University of Berkeley in California, there is now technology available that changes the colour of your shirt. Talk about changing the fashion world forever.
How does it work?
When introduced to the idea of a colour changing shirt, a lot of complexities come to mind. We have shirts that light up or have moving images on them – for those, the use of electrical equipment to switch on the lights or hologram is necessary. Over at EBB, they have simply focused on the primary essential of clothing making: thread.
"[We] coated conductive threads with thermochromic pigments and explored how we could leverage the geometries of weaving and crochet to create unique aesthetic effects and power efficiencies," writes Laura Devendorf, who is leading the development of EBB, over at her site Art for Dorks.
In simple terms, the thermochromic threads will change colour when voltage is applied to them.
"The thermochromic pigments change colours in slow, subtle, and even ghostly ways, and when we weave them into fabrics, they create calming 'animations' that move across the threads," Devendorf adds.
The only downside to this thread is the refresh rate on colour change is slow.
It may be hard to understand why this is such a huge advancement in technology at first, but this innovation is taking our society in the right direction and even improving the way we live. There are so many technological gadgets on the market, it is hard not to be worried about the impact they will have on our environment.
"If you can weave the sensor into the textile, as a material you're moving away from the electronics," Google's Ivan Poupyrev told Wired last year. "You're making the basic materials of the world around us interactive."
The colour changing fabric is just a starting point. After this technology has been mastered the next step is to have interactive screens on the shirts. Think something along the lines of an iShirt, where you can check to see if you’ve missed a phone call, play games, and maybe even skype your family on your shirt.
Besides the obvious changes to the world of fashion, having the ability to change the colour of your clothing would have major economic effects. Having a shirt turning multiple colours would mean you only need to buy one shirt. Buy a white shirt and then pick a colour to match your outfit. This might be great for you, but the downside comes to the industry that produces the shirt. Effecting everyone who works at the company, the money saved in your wallet is preventing money from being put in the pockets of workers.
But at least there will be no more standing in shopping malls wondering if you should buy a red shirt or blue, because now you will have both in one.