Friday Squid Blogging: Mimicking Squid Camouflage
Cephalopods – squid, cuttlefish and octopuses – change colour by using tiny muscles in their skins to stretch out small sacs of black colouration.
These sacs are located in the animal’s skin cells, and when a cell is ready to change colour, the brain sends a signal to the muscles and they contract.
This makes the sacs expand and creates the optical effect which makes the animal look like it is changing colour.
To mimic these natural mechanisms, the team used “smart” electro-active polymeric materials, connected to an electric circuit.
When a voltage was applied, the materials contracted; they returned to their original shape when they were short-circuited.
“These artificial muscles can replicate the [natural] muscular action… and can have strong visual effects,” said Dr Rossiter.
“These materials, and this approach, is ideal for making smart colour-changing skins or soft devices in which fluid is pumped from one place to another.
As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.