Always have a matching outfit with smartphone-controlled colour-changing e-fabric

Can’t find anything to wear, or doesn’t your bag match your outfit? Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed the first colour- and pattern-changing e-fabric that can be controlled with a smartphone, called ChroMorphous.

Unlike other colour-changing fabrics that rely on heat or LEDs, the new fabric has metal microwires embedded in the thread. A battery-powered, electric current runs through the treads, slightly changing their temperature and chasing special pigments in the thread to change colour. According to the researchers, the temperature change is barely perceptible to the touch, so the material doesn’t get hot.

The textile has the ‘feel’ of denim. Like traditional fabric, the material can be cut, sewn, washed and even ironed. The current technology allows for a colour change between up to 4 colours.

The team created a series of prototypes, including purses and backpacks. The products can change both colour and pattern through the use of an app on your smartphone or the click of a built-in button. The current prototypes only have striped patterns, but the aim is to expand to more patterns in the future.

The team is now focusing on making the e-fabric thinner, so it can be used to make garments.

In the future, the researchers hope that the fabrics can be used in other applications besides fashion, such as medical or military uses. Aside from colour-changing, they aim for the fabric to change temperature, stiffness or respond to a variety of stimuli.

The first products from the responsive fabric should hit the market next year.

Photos & GIFs: ChroMorphous