In the video that set materials scientist and chemical engineer Alon Gorodetsky on the path to his latest invention, an octopus appears from the algae like a jump scare in a horror movie. The creature shifts out of its camouflage coloration so rapidly it seems to materialize out of the seawater. That “remarkable” video, says the associate professor at University of California, Irvine, “really changed the trajectory of my career, because I started working on materials inspired by cephalopods.” Most recently, Gorodetsky took inspiration from a squid—specifically its color-changing skin—to create a new material that can keep in or let out an adjustable amount of heat. “Thermocomfort material,” as his team describes in the journal Nature Communications, has an array of potential uses, from heat-regulating clothing to energy-saving coatings for rooftops.
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