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Web Exclusive | May 2018

Power to change fabric colour!

Make it pink! Make it blue! Or make it pink and blue stripes! With colour-changing smart fabric, you can change your outfit with the press of a button on an app!

Researchers at the University of Central Florida are taking wearables to the next level with a new colour-changing fabric they call ChroMorphous. Controlled by an app, this battery-powered fabric physically changes colour when turned on.

Fashion and technology sometimes make an awkward pair. Levi's has a jacket that can connect to Uber or Lyft. Samsung has a suit that can unlock a phone. Pizza Hut has sneakers that pause the TV.

But instead of slapping smarts to existing clothing, UCF takes a different approach. The tech is woven throughout the fabric, using threads that incorporate micro-wires and colour-changing pigments.

The possibilities go beyond a purse, as shown in the demo. The UCF team got this technology to be scalable, so it can be mass produced using a process called fiber spinning. The researchers are now working with fashion designers to create colour-changing dresses -- but to make it more appealing, they want to get the threads even thinner. Currently, the material feels similar to canvas, like a tote bag.

The future of smart fashions promise new function -- but also, a little bit of fun.

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