Camouflage clothing isn't as camouflage as it could be; however, researchers in China are working on a body armor that could almost completely hide whoever is wearing it.
To show off their new technology, the researchers from the Wuhan University, built a robotic chameleon and concealed it in plasmonic displays, which are able detect background colors with light sensors, then change the color of the displays to blend in with that background.
The displays themselves, which were described in ACS Nano, are made out of thin glass sheets. The sheets have a grid holes that measure a miniscule 50-nanometer wide. The researchers then covered those sheets of glass in gold, creating small domes in the holes, after which they covered the sheet again, this time in a layer of electrolyte gel with silver ions. Plasmons, or groups of electrons, are then produced when light hits the gold domes, which is able to then determine the color to reflect.
The displays can produce different colors when they are connected to an electric field, which essentially changes how many of the silver ions stick to the layer of gold.
According to the scientists behind the project, the robot can currently only match and produce the primary colors; however, they suggest that soon they will be able to develop a way for the robot to produce other colors too. Eventually, they hope to turn the technology into a camouflage armor that can be used on military vehicles, or even worn by people.
Check out the video of the Chameleon robot in action below.