Biomimetic chromatophores for camouflage and soft active surfaces

Jonathan Rossiter, Bryan Yap, Andrew Conn
2012 Bioinspiration & Biomimetics  
Chromatophores are the pigment-containing cells in the skins of animals such as fish and cephalopods which have chromomorphic (colour-changing) and controllable goniochromic (iridescent-changing) properties. These animals control the optical properties of their skins for camouflage and, it is speculated, for communication. The ability to replicate these properties in soft artificial skin structures opens up new possibilities for active camouflage, thermal regulation and active photovoltaics.
more » ... e photovoltaics. This paper presents the design and implementation of soft and compliant artificial chromatophores based on the cutaneous chromatophores in fish and cephalopods. We demonstrate artificial chromatophores that are actuated by electroactive polymer artificial muscles, mimicking the radially orientated muscles found in natural chromatophores. It is shown how bio-inspired chromomorphism may be achieved using both areal expansion of dielectric elastomer structures and by the hydrostatic translocation of pigmented fluid into an artificial dermal melanophore.
doi:10.1088/1748-3182/7/3/036009 pmid:22549047 fatcat:ulccenn4prctlppcf4atleosxm