For some people in certain situations, it might be advantageous if their clothes could enable them to blend into their surroundings and save them from an unwelcome encounter. For them, a textile designer in Budapest has taken the first steps to create clothing that can change colour like a chameleon.
The experimental fabric can change color in seconds with the help of a number of electronic devices. The interactive fabric was created by Judit Eszter Karpati, using computer programming, engineering and electronic devices. She writes, ‘My main interest in textile design is the dynamically changing surfaces, structures, integrating interactive technologies into textiles. In my works, I’m looking for new ways of interaction between a human and textile.’
The fabric is made using her Chromosonic research project, and according to her consists of ‘arduino [a microcontroller] with 12V power supply and 20 custom PCBs [printed circuit boards] driving and controlling 4 industrial 24V DC power supplies, that heat two handmade textile woven with nichrome wires and screen-printed with thermochromatic dying, revealing the pre-programmed patterns.’
The main purpose of creating the fabric, according to the designer, is to turn digital media into textile art. This amazing creation works by employing two slow moving layers of textile that ‘display’ the content. They react to environmental changes such as heat and pressure by changing colour and pattern. Ms Karpati explains this as follows: ‘Patterns appear on woven, flexible textile, integrated electronic devices. The patterns are generated from sound files. The heat sensitive static patterns create dynamically changing patterns. The spectators also can leave traces on the surface through the sense of touch.’