Engineers from New Jersey’s Rutgers University have developed a 3D-printed smart gel and stretchy material that combined will change color and shape in response to light exposure.

Taking inspiration from cuttlefish, squid and octopuses, all of which can change color and texture, the team of engineers incorporated light-sensing nanomaterial into 3D-printed hydrogel to create the shape-changing gel. The smart hydrogel will reportedly contract when exposed to light, behaving as an “artificial muscle.”

Source: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011Source: NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Galapagos Rift Expedition 2011

Additionally, the team developed a 3D-printed stretchy material that senses and responds to light, revealing different colors when exposed to light.

When combined, the hydrogel and the stretchy material could potentially behave as camouflage for military applications.

The research appears in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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