From Ivan Amato's 9-30-14 Guardian article entitled "Engineers Mimic the Amazing Camouflage Abilities of the Octopus":
"At first glance, the thumbnail-size grids of 256 minuscule black squares seem to have nothing to do with the octopus, squid and cuttlefish that inspired them. But these hi-tech microconstructions of polymers, semiconductors, light sensors and heating elements are what you get when scientists attempt to replicate the camouflaging ability of the animal world.
"One of the goals of the scientists’ work, which explains the US navy’s financial support of the project, is to invent synthetic skins that can recast their textures, colours and patterns to match their surroundings – match them well enough that the skins and what’s underneath them essentially disappear.
"For millions of years, hiding has been a primary means of survival for soft and often defenceless cephalopods. Engineers can learn a lot from these masters of deception.
“'The power of evolution is spectacular,' says John Rogers, a materials scientist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who is part of a multi-institutional team developing hi-tech camouflage. 'We are taking inspiration from nature to build devices that can respond and adapt to the lighting and coloration of whatever environment they are in.' The scientists envision paints and fabrics that can change their patterns swiftly, even entire naval vessels that can blend into their surroundings with octopus-inspired camo skins [...]. "Military applications will come first, but Rogers envisions a world with octopus camouflage ability all over it. 'This is a starting point,' he says. 'I am thinking about surfaces whose colours are programmable and adaptive to what is going on.' A textile artist at the Art Institute of Chicago interested in futuristic fabrics has been in touch, Rogers notes. He then ticks off a bunch of things — cars, toys, displays, even living room walls — that he imagines could be designed with astounding morphing surfaces, from smooth to bumpy or woven textured, like wicker."