It's every fashionista's dream, said Marc Bain at Quartz: a coat that can change color so it always complements the rest of your outfit. Such chameleon clothing is now closer to reality, thanks to a team of MIT researchers who have "devised a way to make objects that can toggle between different colors." Called ColorFab, the system is built around photochromic inks that switch between transparent and colored states when exposed to certain wavelengths of UV light.
The researchers used the inks to create a "dense, multicolored pattern of voxels — basically units of visual information, like pixels, only in 3-D." After being "activated" with a UV light, the voxels hold their color for several weeks, at which point they start to fade and need to be reactivated. The researchers have so far only worked with 3-D printed plastic, but "believe the concept could be applied to other items, including clothing."