One of the coolest animals on the planet has got to be the cuttlefish. They are notorious for their ability to change color to camouflage themselves, communicate with one-another, stand out and be intimidating, or confuse predators. According to a recent MSNBC article titled, “Color-shifting cuttlefish inspire TV screens,” scientists “are developing cuttlefish-inspired electronic ink and screens that use less than one-hundredth the power of traditional television screens.” According to the article, the screens are cheap to make and easy to assemble: “The screen is so easy to assemble, said Thomas, that he that is working with a Boston area science teacher to produce a version cheap enough, safe enough and simple enough for middle and high school students to build in chemistry class.” There are some drawbacks to this design: “Since the screens reflect light instead of creating light, they can only be used in a lit area.” Nonetheless, engineers are hopeful:
“The tunability of these systems is fantastic,” said Stephen Foulger, a professor at Clemson University also working on reflective screens. “There is a huge span of colors and applications. … this is a nice system that has a huge span of colors, and that can often trump problems like viewing angle.”
The article also reports that “Microsoft, Sun Chemical Corp., the University of Cincinnati and Cornell University all have active reflective screen research units, all for a variety of different purposes. Electronic ink applications, pressure sensors and advertising billboards are only a few of the potential applications.”
So we may soon have affordable, energy-efficient, cuttlefish inspired flat screen TVs and computer monitors everywhere. But of course, there’s no design overtones to see here folks. None whatsoever.