Visitors to the Smart Textiles Salon in Ghent, a jointed European workshop organized by the European projects SysTex and Proetex will see a highly interesting prototype called ‘Transitional Stripes‘, a technology exploration into color changing textiles.
The ‘Transitional Stripes‘ are the result of an AHRC funded project by Robert M Christie, Sarah Taylor and presented by Sara Robertson, PhD student at the Heriot-Watt University School of Textiles and Design.
The prototype uses laser etching and printing with liquid crystal dyes on textile. A programmable heat-profiling electronic system activates the liquid crystal layers, cycling through a variety of colors by selectively change the temperature of the different liquid crystal layers.
The colors of the different bands of textiles are activated at different temperatures starting at 25°C with a pale green color shade, blending into emerald green then lilac and turquoise.
With rising temperature the textile changes color through purple, pink and tops off with emerald green at 40°C.
Thermochromic dyes and pigments can be found in a variety of products and garments. Color changing T-Shirts have been in high demand a few years back at the begin of the ’90s, reacting on the change of the surrounding temperature but only controllable when the wearer changes from a cooler to warmer room (or the other way around).
Merging temperature sensitive, liquid crystal dyes with electronics to control the color change ‘on demand’ adds more interactivity to textiles, allowing to change the appearance of clothing or other textile surfaces. A cool technology I am sure many designer will like to use.