Nanomachines Matching Camoflage to Surroundings?

Hmm.  I guess on one hand, this could be cool.

“Is that Jim in a camoflage suit?”
“Obviously not, Frank, that’s the side of a building.”

I just read an article at GizmoWatch about some researchers at Sandia National Laboratory that have created a series of light-emitting nanomachines that could be applied to clothing to alter its color per its environment.  From the original article at PhysOrg:

“Camouflage outfits that blend with a variety of environments without need of an outside power source – say, blue when at sea and then brown in a desert environment – is where this work could eventually lead,” says principal investigator George Bachand. “Or the same effect could be used in fabricating chic civilian clothing that automatically changes color to fit different visual settings.”

Such clothing could be a reality in five to ten years, he says.

The power source for both the biological and the lab method relies on the basic cellular fuel called ATP, which releases energy as it breaks down. Fifty percent (roughly) is absorbed by the motor proteins – tiny molecular motors able to move along surfaces.

When fish change colors, motor proteins aggregate and disperse skin pigment crystals carried in their “tails” as they walk with their “feet” along the microtubule skeleton of the cell. By this means, they rearrange the color display.

This will undoubtedly lead to some interesting innovations in product development – ah, military research and their unlimited pool of money.

nanomachines