For some time, engineers have been experimenting with robotic tentacles modelled on the octopus. Now they're being inspired by their camouflage.

Cephalopods -- cuttlefish, octopus, and squid -- are renowned for their ability to rapidly change their skin colour and patterns to match their surroundings or warn off attackers.

Their skin is studded with sacs full of pigment called chromatophores, each one surrounded by 18 to 30 muscle fibres that can rapidly change how much pigment is exposed.

It also seems that the skin itself is somehow "smart" and can, in some circumstances, work independently from the animal's brain.

According to Alon Gorodetsky, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of California, Irvine, understanding these biological capabilities could inspire the engineering of dynamic materials for military camouflage applications. Read More