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Given that technology is being incorporated into every aspect of our life, it is not surprising to hear the emergence of 'smart' clothing that make lifeless fabrics fun and playful. London-based Cute Circuit has been creating interactive fashions like huggable shirts and dresses that transmit live tweets, since 2004. Now Hungarian designer Judit Eszter Karpati has joined the fray with Chromosonic, a high-tech material that changes color when exposed to touch or sound.
In order to create this unusual fabric, Judit began by dying it with thermochromatic ink, which changes color when the temperature increases or decreases. Hence when a human hand is placed over the fabric, its natural heat reacts with the thermochromatic ink, resulting in colorful, albeit temporary fingerprints.
To invoke a similar reaction to music and other audio, the designer, interweaved nichrome wires into the fabric. She then connected the wires to a tiny Arduino microcomputer, which allowed her to feed sound files into the fabric. The energy from the sound caused the wires to heat up, which in turn changed the temperature of the thermochromatic ink resulting in a playful fabric that changed colors, the entire time the audio was on.
Unfortunately, unlike the folks at Cute Circuit, Judit who created this fun fabric as part of her master's project, has no intention of making it available for commercial use. But one can always hope that she will change her mind!
Resources: freep.com, wired.com