In moving color

>>In moving color

Check this out: heat-sensitive glass tile. I may be the last person in the world to hear about it. Mom sent over a newsclipping and I investigated a bit.

The tile changes color according to temperature, so if it’s in your shower you’ll supposedly get a continuously changing rainbow while you scrub. The site’s kinda info-poor and they don’t really say how it works. I’d suspect some kind of heat-sensitive crystal, which also makes me wonder how long it’s going to last. (And what happens in 10 years when color-changing tiles become as dated as shag carpet? Can you turn it off and pretend it’s just plain tile?)

What they DO say, though, is that this stuff ain’t cheap. You can buy samples of the different tile styles, $33 apiece for a 4×4 tile (or nearly $300/SF). They also require you to agree to we-don’t-trust-you payment terms before they’ll mention the price.

I suppose if I ever get rich, I might give it a shot.



  1. TK February 16, 2008 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    Nifty but I think for that money I’d rather just have someone figure out how to mount a waterproof LCD tv behind the shower so I catch the news while I’m in there.

  2. gary brown February 15, 2008 at 7:01 am - Reply

    “Water based screen inks containing microencapsulated Cholesteric thermal liquid crystal”

    Probably not the best application for a shower…unless they could be encapsulated behind glass.

  3. charlie February 14, 2008 at 7:19 am - Reply

    how about thermo inks that can be screenprinted?

  4. Cynthia February 13, 2008 at 11:13 am - Reply

    Hmmmm. If you used it that way you’d be sealing it BEHIND the glass in the shower. It certainly could be done, and most likely could be waterproofed (I’m thinking you’d make a “box” of the glass tile where the crystal sheet fit snugly into the back of the tile, you embedded the sheet into some kind of optically clear resin to make a solid block, and then pushed THAT, resin side first, into a polymer mastic of some kind.

    However…I wonder how much insulation you’d get from that combination? The heat would have to travel through the glass and resin to reach the sheet…

  5. gary brown February 13, 2008 at 8:49 am - Reply

    On further searching, a 12″x12″ sheet of liquid crystal material is around $25. You can get 9 4″x4″ tile sheets out of that, so the LC cost would be around $2.75. In bulk, I’m sure that would be a lot less… the trick is getting that sheet into a nice glass case that will NEVER leak. Not an easy task in an environment (shower) that’s hot & humid.

  6. gary brown February 13, 2008 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Cool… but like you say, pricey. And…over $5,000 you can’t use a credit card. That means if they sell you junk you can’t use your credit card leverage on ’em.

    Found this:

    I guess the trick is to seal the liquid crystal between a backing and a sheet of protective glass. Hmmm….


  7. charlie February 13, 2008 at 6:41 am - Reply

    same stuff that they use to make mood rings or stick on thermometers for fish tanks.

    oddly enough, these crystals are produced from cholesterol.

    thermotropic liquid crystals

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