Inventables, a hyper creative company from Chicago that tracks little known materials and technologies and develops concept designs around them, has picked the Cholesteric LCD technology to create Sport shoes (Kicks) like the one in the image.
The idea is to integrate a Cholesteric display into a shoe to change the design on demand. one way to do so is for example via a mobile phones Bluetooth function. It’s like changing the wallpaper on the phone only that sending the wallpaper design to the shoe. Someone shows up to the party with them same style? No problem, search via your mobile phone for another style, hit the send button and you have your unique style.
This principle can be applied for other clothing items as well. The Cholesteric Display technology needs only power during the change of the pattern / image. Once changed it stays like this for every, that is until you changes it again. No power consumption at all. Only a small battery can so last for a very long time.
The molecules inside the display have two stable orientations. In one, they are twisted and so reflect a particular wavelength of light, for example blue. When a electrical charge is applied on certain ares of the display, the molecules untwist and let the light through, meaning the background, for example white, is visible. The result can look like in the image of the concept shoe from Inventables. The molecules maintain their state of twisted or untwisted until charge is applied again, the power consumption is minimal.
The Cholesteric Display was developed by Kent State University in the 1990s. This displays are already in use for store signage. The Cholesteric Display is not suitable for videos because the change between twisted and untwisted state is too slow. Kent State University is working on having more than the two color available no and to apply on flexible substrates that can be integrated into any kind of textiles.
A very promising technology that would make our desire to change our outfit on command and instantly a pleasant reality of life.
For more in-depth information on all variation of flexible, low power display technologies visit Nikkei Electronics Asia which has a very detailed summary of the different technologies in a March 2006 article.
If you want to stay up-to-date with the application of this technologies in Wearable Electronic – come back to our blog, we will keep you informed.