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Techno Chronicle | From black car to white car in a fraction of a second

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The idea is still interesting. Have your white car to crisscross the country roads during the day and cover it in black in a click for the chic end of the evening outing. All this in a fraction of a second and by pressing a simple button.

BMW offers it. This latest innovation can be found on a brand new electric car from the German firm, a sports utility vehicle model called BMW iX Flow. Let those who love variety and who are the type to always oscillate between two options retain this name. They will no longer have to choose between a white vehicle and a black vehicle. On the contrary, they will rather have the impression of having two cars for the price of one, thanks to a simple small button.

Pure question of electrophoretics…

The name is not common, but it could become popular in the years to come. Electrophoretics is the technology that allows the car to go from white to black using an envelope of electronic ink, a kind of self-adhesive film made up of millions of microcapsules the size of a hair.

In fact, it’s the same technology that’s used for some eReaders. Except that here, we are talking about bodywork, an ultramodern car wrap that goes through the intensity of the current.

The capsules contain negatively charged white pigments, and they have positively charged black pigments. So, when stimulated by electrical signals, the envelope will turn white or black, depending on the charge. You had to think about it.

You might think that this is all just a matter of aesthetics, but no. There is still another advantage to this technology, promises the manufacturer, and it is not trivial since we are talking here about energy saving. The function would indeed increase the autonomy of electric vehicles. This is because the car’s white body, which reflects a lot of light, could be useful in summer to counter periods of high heat, while reducing the use of air conditioning. Conversely, when the temperature drops, the driver can opt for the black bodywork, which will keep the heat in and reduce the use of the heater.

  • The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

    PHOTO TOM KIRKPATRICK, SUPPLIED BY BMW

    The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an envelope of electronic ink.

  • The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

    PHOTO TOM KIRKPATRICK, SUPPLIED BY BMW

    The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

  • The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

    PHOTO TOM KIRKPATRICK, SUPPLIED BY BMW

    The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

  • The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

    PHOTO TOM KIRKPATRICK, SUPPLIED BY BMW

    The BMW iX Flow sport utility vehicle is able to change its coating from white to black using an e-ink envelope.

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As long as pushing the machine

The technology had its effect when it was presented in Las Vegas in January 2022. However, the automaker added another layer of it last May. This time, BMW presented the technology in an improved version, announcing that experts are now studying the possibility of changing the color of the vehicle from a simple command of the driver’s brain.

Researchers are hard at work to perfect this concept. This is a nanotechnology that they have already experienced by connecting the car and its millions of microcapsules to the brains of the participants using a device capable of recording brain activity, an electro-encephalograph. As a result, the greater the brain activity, the more color the car gains. What if the brain generates little action? The car then resumes its initial color.

Ultimately, the tests lead to believe that one day, the function could actually give people the opportunity to change the color of their car by their mere thought. Crazy as well. Although not so crazy either, if you think about it, because security could be increased. And when we talk about security, I am particularly challenged.

Explanation. From a security point of view, it appears that this technology could save lives. Imagine a driver who, tired from his day at work, finds his brain activity slowing down or, worse, he is about to doze off. You see me coming… The change in color of his car could detect cerebral slowdown and, suddenly, alert other road users to the fact that this driver has some fatigue at the wheel, or that he is not driving. peak of its form, shall we say.

shades, shades

For the moment, the technology of the German firm is limited on the color side. Until now, we can only play on white, gray and black. However, you can imagine that we are currently working hard to be able to offer brighter and more attractive colors.


PHOTO TOM KIRKPATRICK, SUPPLIED BY BMW

BMW iX Flow

I hear more than one or more than one… Gadget, that all that! Futile! True. But let’s admit that even if this chameleon car innovation is not the most necessary, it is likely to seduce the maniacs of innovative technologies, and there are still many of them. Not to mention that it could also attract consumers enthusiastic about the idea of ​​designing their vehicle in a personalized way.

For some, this is a technology that could even influence the way they choose a car. Nope ? Personally, I’d bet a little two on that…



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