Artificial material mimics cuttlefish skin by glowing when stretched.

By Seriously Science | March 7, 2016 6:00 am

Cephalopods, including octopuses and cuttlefish, are amazing animals. Not only are they enormously intelligent, but they can change their appearance at will, as highlighted by the above clip of a cuttlefish hypnotizing its prey with a fantastic display of color- changing skin. This ability inspired scientists from Cornell University to develop a material that glows when stretched, allowing for movement-based color displays. It’s not yet as enthralling as the displays of real cephalopods, but it’s pretty fun (see video clip below).

Highly stretchable electroluminescent skin for optical signaling and tactile sensing.

“Cephalopods such as octopuses have a combination of a stretchable skin and color-tuning organs to control both posture and color for visual communication and disguise. We present an electroluminescent material that is capable of large uniaxial stretching and surface area changes while actively emitting light. Layers of transparent hydrogel electrodes sandwich a ZnS phosphor-doped dielectric elastomer layer, creating thin rubber sheets that change illuminance and capacitance under deformation. Arrays of individually controllable pixels in thin rubber sheets were fabricated using replica molding and were subjected to stretching, folding, and rolling to demonstrate their use as stretchable displays. These sheets were then integrated into the skin of a soft robot, providing it with dynamic coloration and sensory feedback from external and internal stimuli.”

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