Electrically Controlled Color-Changing Fabric
We develop electrically controllable color-changing fabrics, apparel, and fixed installations based on multimaterial fibers in which ultrathin metal microwires are embedded along textile-grade fibers impregnated with thermochromics pigments. An electric current passing through the microscopic metal core can rapidly change the fiber color. Yarns of such fibers can be woven into fabrics for use in apparel items such as headbands, wristbands, ties and bowties, pockets, or a full garment such as a shirt, jacket, or a dress. A different class of applications that we are addressing is that of fixed installations: curtains, window blinds, furniture accessories, etc. The technology provides dynamic control over the appearance of fabric-based products. The added value thus stems from the supplementary functionality derived from the seamless incorporation of our color-changing fabric into existing or new product lines. Low-cost mass- production is achieved by exploiting standard melt-spinning processes to produce fibers and yarns compatible with industrial scale textile weaving machines.