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Color Changing Electronic Skins

Our readers who are old enough to remember seeing Governator's Sci-Fi movie Total Recall would recognize the animated GIF. In this scene, a bored receptionist is trying out different nail colors with a simple touch of a stylus. Personally I consider it one of the top classic SF fashion technologies, along with that Chanel instant makeup applicator in The Fifth Element, and the auto fitting/drying jacket in Back to the Future Part II. (Hmm, maybe I should write a post about this. Readers, if you'd like to nominate your favoriate fashion technologies in SF shows and films, please leave a comment or email us.)

The fiction is now one step closer to reality thanks to Kent Displays' Reflex Electronic Skins (note: PDF link). It is a piece of plastic sheet that changes color when receiving an electric current. Better yet, the color stays even after the power goes away. Since the sheet is thin and flexible and can be cut to different shapes, it may be applied to all sorts of products, giving them color-changing exteriors. So far the company seems to be mainly marketing to mobile device manufacturers (actual demo image below), but we can't wait to see how it'd be used for fashion and home design.

(Image source:, and Kent Displays, Inc.)


That is some really exciting news!

I've been waiting for a development like this since...well...Total Recall!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 - 14:52