BMW debuts its electric iX flow with fluidly color-changing 'E Ink' | Source: BMW

BMW Shows Off E Ink Colour Changing Car

Ever been caught out on a scorching hot day in a dark coloured car?

Maybe you just felt like you would like to show the other parents your designer tastes when you are dropping the kids off at school.

German automaker BMW has launched a colour changing car, the iX Flow concept car at the Consumer Electronics Show convention in Las Vegas in January which changes colour at the touch of a mobile phone.

At the moment the colour schemes are limited to black, white and grey, but the e-ink technology allows for different designs such as a honeycomb pattern to appear on the exterior of the car.

The technology is similar to what is already used in kindle e-readers and other e-books and was developed at MIT by physicist Joseph Jacobson along with undergrads Barrett Comiskey, a math major, and J.D. Albert a mechanical engineering major way back in 1996.

“E Ink’s colour changing technology is technically amazing. Seeing it formed on our highly curved surfaces is absolutely unexpected and seemingly magical,” said project lead Stella Clarke, a Sydney-raised BMW research engineer.

Source: BMW

Clarke predicts some of the uses for the colour changing car, the car could flash when lost in a parking lot, change colour when it has been cleaned or, if used as a ride-share vehicle, could change colour depending on whether it is free to be booked.

The colour is maintained on the surface of the car using very little power, making a change in colour to suit the weather as fuel or battery-economic option.

Originally the e-ink technology was meant to consist of multitudes of half black, half white spheres that would rotate when charged to reveal the black or white sides to create a black and white surface but this method was deemed impossible by experienced chemists and materials scientists other options were considered.

The developers then started experimenting with charging and encapsulating the all-white sphere particles suspended in liquid, encased in a film layer with a black dye, creating a system of microcapsules that could be applied to a surface.

When charged independently, different areas of the e-ink surface could change colour from white to black.

E-ink technology is not the company’s only new trick, with BMW boasting the rear seats of their cars will be transformed into mini theatres with 31-inch 8k displays which fold down from the headlining electronically.

The “private cinema lounge” experience will be complemented by Amazon’s Fire TV streaming service with sun-blinds for the rear and side windows creating a theatre-like ambience.

A Bowers & Wilkins Diamond stereo will provide the audio for some Hans Zimmer created sound effects but BMW has been very secretive about which model the Theatre Mode feature will make its debut on.

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