It seems like a Sci-Fi movie scenario but it is just the reality. A group of researchers believes that they can produce 3D camouflage materials by studying cuttlefish.
The cuttlefish is known to be one of the few marine animals that can change their appearance in order to blend in with the environment, becoming “invisible”.
On the other hand, chameleons are already known to change their color to cloak themselves but scientists couldn’t find them helpful for creation of a 3D cloaking device.
Instead, cuttlefish are closer to what the scientists look for as they are changing their bodies’ color, texture, and even the form, in order to blend in with the environment.
The cuttlefish is neurally controlling specific organs in order to cloak as it desires
The “chromatophores” help cuttlefish cloak.
These “chromatophores” are in fact muscle tissues organs that are able to change their color but also to produce other organs called “papillae” which have the role of changing the aspect of the cuttlefish’s body in order to look even more similar with the environment.
The scientists depicted that both the muscular organs and the papillae of the cuttlefish are controlled by a part of the fish’s neurological system. The so-called stellate ganglion is the cuttlefish’s peripheral nerve center which is the command center for the papillae on the fish’s skin.
Andrew Huxley and Alan Hodgkin, two Nobel-prize winners, and John Eccles, an Australian scientist, has managed to reverse engineer the ways the neural impulses function in the cuttlefish’s stellate ganglion and papillae.
“This research on neural control of flexible skin, combined with anatomical studies of the novel muscle groups that enable such shape-shifting skin, has applications for the development of new classes of soft materials that can be engineered for a wide array of uses in industry, society, and medicine,” explained the MBL’s professor, Dr. Roger Hanlon.
Scientists consider that this discovery opens some roads towards the creation of the first cloaking device in history.