With advances in product customization and design democratization, the future of footwear innovation appears vibrant and rich.
Imagine printing a custom graphic on a footwear upper with a laser, then being able to erase the graphic to print a new one by simply placing the footwear in a freezer. Bi-Stable Thermochromic Inks allow just that.
Thermochromic (temperature sensitive) dye’s have existed for some time. Some will remember the Global brand that produced Global Hypercolor fashion garments back in the early 1990’s.
More recently furniture design by Jay Watson titled “Linger a Little Longer” featured Thermochromic paint.
However Bi-Stable Thermochromic Ink is a recent innovation which provides 2 stable states of ink. Like a switch, Bi-Stable ink can be activated to be coloured or non-coloured, and won’t fade like ordinary Thermochromic Ink. Only high heat will switch the colour off and only intense cold will switch it on.
To achieve a high print resolution a focused heat source like laser is used, this is called a Shader Printer.
Imagine a Converse Chuck Taylor with a canvas graphic which can be changed over and over again for the fraction of the price of a new shoe. A redesign which creates no waste, pollution and shipping costs. $10-$20 for laser artwork purchased from Converse or online and printed at a retail outlet.
Check out the videos below for further information.