We live in a magical age filled with robot maids, flying cars (sorta), and mechanical guard dogs. And now, finally, that list includes color-changing home furnishings, like this fiber optic throw pillow. This is the 21st Century for crying out loud.

Developed by a team of researchers at Japan's Meiji University and called the LightCloth, this interactive sheet is woven from a series of side-diffusing fiber optic lines. As Associate Professor Sunao Hashimoto explains, "Although the fabric is so thin, it can emit light in full color. Each strand emits a different color. As well as making the interface light up, you can use this pen to change the color. On the fabric side, the system can detect what kind of signal is coming in, and from where."

What's more, these individual threads can act both as outputs for computer-controlled light patterns and as inputs using the associated IR stylus. "We're using a pen here, but you can also change the color through a laser pointer," Hashimoto continued. "So, you could do things like changing the color of people on a stage from a distance. Because the fibers are woven in one direction, the information is one-dimensional. Next, we'd like to make it two-dimensional."

Eventually, even your furniture will be able to change its color on demand to suit your mood. [DigInfo]