Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Nanotech hair dye

Colour-cycling nanobots embedded in hair shaft
  (+7, -1)
(+7, -1)
  [vote for,

Conventional hair dye consists of coloured particles, which lodge inside the hair shaft and reflect certain wavelengths of light. What if instead of dumb particles, one was to use nano-scale machines? Each one would have a rotor, with different sides reflecting different colours. An actuator, controlled by an onboard CPU or a simple receiver, would rotate the rotor.

Commands could be broadcast to all the 'bots through an extremely low-power RF transmitter, an analogue of Bluetooth, or an IP network implemented on the wearer's body's electrical field, from a pocket remote control unit.

In the simplest variant, the wearer could change their hair colour by remote control; you could have conservative brown hair in your day job at the bank and shift to fluorescent pink for a weekend of raving. Or if you are a salesperson, consultant, pick-up artist, conman, social worker or other people-oriented profession, you could tailor your appearance to best match your audience, more easily winning their approval or trust.

Of course, it wouldn't be long before someone pushed the envelope and animated the whole thing; one could, of course, repeatedly send colour-change commands from the controller, causing your hair to flash. Entire subcultural codes may emerge, using changes of hair colour for flirtation or some other form of social signalling.

For that matter, why not do away with the remote control (or switch it off) and make the nanobots into a cellular automaton of some sort, each bot's state governed by those in its immediate vicinity. Depending on the function used, one could have all sorts of colour-cycling flame effects.

acb, Mar 28 2001

IBM's Personal Area Network research http://www.research...m/research/pan.html
For naysayers like StarChaser. [wiml, Mar 28 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       *ducks in anticipation of egnor's response*
absterge, Mar 28 2001

       Nah, why bother.
egnor, Mar 28 2001

       "an IP network implemented on the wearer's body's electrical field, "   

       Oh brother. 'Wouldn't it be neat if...'
StarChaser, Mar 28 2001

       It's a cool idea, especially for those of us who aren't sure we'd look good with purple hair. But I'm worried about the remote control--some 15-year-old *will* find a way to turn lots of strangers' hair a really ugly, unfashionable shade of yellow-green, and large companies will set up broadcasters to display their logos on your head.
Redbird, Mar 28 2001

       Ok, I take back the scoff about the IP network, but 'Wouldn't it be neat if' is still true.
StarChaser, Mar 29 2001

       What would be even better would be to link it in some way to your emotional state. Bright red hair when you're angry, Blue when you're relaxed. Reminds me of Bruce Sterling's artificial kid.
liquidx, Mar 29 2001

       Wand shorts out, you're a flaming redhead, briefly. <grin!>
StarChaser, May 27 2001

       I'm 15 and yes...I probably would find a way to mess with people's hair. But the idea still kicks.
ichinichi, Jun 12 2001

       eh.. great idea, i want it... what happens when it gets wet? what if it malfunctions? u gotta have backup plans, yo!
fropez, Oct 24 2002

       Real time animated fractal dreadlocks would be within my grasp. That'll show 'em
Alphaman, Oct 24 2002


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