Adaptive optoelectronic camouflage systems with designs inspired by cephalopod skins

Cunjiang Yu, Yuhang Li, Xun Zhang, Xian Huang, Viktor Malyarchuk, Shuodao Wang, Yan Shi, Li Gao, Yewang Su, Yihui Zhang, Hangxun Xu, Roger T. Hanlon, Yonggang Huang, John A. Rogers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and other cephalopods exhibit exceptional capabilities for visually adapting to or differentiating from the coloration and texture of their surroundings, for the purpose of concealment, communication, predation, and reproduction. Longstanding interest in and emerging understanding of the underlying ultrastructure, physiological control, and photonic interactions has recently led to efforts in the construction of artificial systems that have key attributes found in the skins of these organisms. Despite several promising options in active materials for mimicking biological color tuning, existing routes to integrated systems do not include critical capabilities in distributed sensing and actuation. Research described here represents progress in this direction, demonstrated through the construction, experimental study, and computational modeling of materials, device elements, and integration schemes for cephalopod-inspired flexible sheets that can autonomously sense and adapt to the coloration of their surroundings. These systems combine high-performance, multiplexed arrays of actuators and photodetectors in laminated, multilayer configurations on flexible substrates, with overlaid arrangements of pixelated, color-changing elements. The concepts provide realistic routes to thin sheets that can be conformally wrapped onto solid objects to modulate their visual appearance, with potential relevance to consumer, industrial, and military applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12998-13003
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number36
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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