Camouflage techniques have long been done by secret personnel to conceal them self with surroundings. However, the biggest problem is that if the soldier moved to a different location, they might find it difficult to blend again. This is not like one of the Japanese ninja abilities which are able to refract the body with the environment such as walls, trees, roads, and others. This is very similar to the chameleon’s ability to adapt. This ability seems to inspire a team of researchers from China and the United States who have struggled to develop a way to work around this. Unlike in the movie who usually wear a robe or a ring and even drink a drug to make you perfectly invisible but those are quite dangerous, chameleon robot that is successfully created by the researchers at Wuhan University in China is the best thing to get complete transparency to blend into the background well enough so it will not be detected easily.
Mechanical chameleon has fundamental features required for active camouflage
Researchers from the University of Wuhan in China took the 3D model. This design is covered with plasmonic display and also installed a light sensor detector. This tool will be able to produce in accordance with the color or background conditions that existed at the robot. The plasmonic screen on this robot can generate and change colors quickly. The screen is made of small glass with a hole that has a diameter of 50 nanometers.
Let’s start by looking at the nanoscale structure. In order to make it, the researchers wrap the glass with gold nanoparticles, which creates a small dome on each hole. They also use a layer of electrolyte gel with silver ions. Thus, each hole has its nanodome gold. When light hits, these displays will create Plasmon, or ripples of electrons, so that the dome can determine the reflection and the absorption rate of light. The different colors produced when an electric field is connected and incorporates a number of sticks of silver ions into the golden dome.
In short, different colors that exist in the robot’s body are generated when electric fields are interconnected and changing the presence of some silver ions. Then, adding light and color detection sensor from the environment in order to adjust the electric field to change color as needed. This is undoubtedly an extremely complex technical phenomenon. However, the uploaded videos showed that robot moves from red to green background color can adapt to its surface in real-time from front to back without moving color transition until the sensor completely moved into the next background color. It became an evident that the mechanical chameleon has every fundamental feature required for active and realistic camouflage.
The study’s current models can only change between red, green, and blue
Scientists are still figuring out exactly how chameleons change color in real life. The latest research shows it is small guanine crystals that exist beneath the skin cells. It seems that by changing the distance between these crystals, the chameleon can change the wavelength of the reflected light. This concept is similar to what they used in chameleon robot – the color changing is depending on the tuning of the electric field in a similar way how the chameleon’s body adjusts to its guanine crystals.
Although it is considered cutting-edge, the scientists say that at the moment the color matching of this robot is limited to red, green, and blue. However, they believe this invisible robot will be developed further in order to be able to detect and match any color.
It could be used to develop military adaptive camouflage system
A more advanced system can detect any color. This will fully combine mechanical chameleon capability into surroundings. If a more sophisticated sensor can be miniaturized, then someday this technology could be developed into an adaptive camouflage for military purposes such as vehicle or body armor.
This display still needs a long road and a few jobs to be done before all of that possible. However, it seems that this technology is on its way. Therefore, get ready to see the development of military camouflage.