Ever wonder why there are no colored bubbles? If you have kids, chances are you’ve played with bubble solutions that shimmer and shine, but which are basically clear. Bubbles in a solid hue, however, are a non-trivial problem in chemistry. Until recently, no one had created one. This didn’t deter inventor Tim Kehoe, however, and he spent eleven years, largely in his kitchen, perfecting a method for creating colored bubbles. Not only that, but his recipe uses a dye that leaves no mark on clothing or skin when the bubble pops. Popular Science has a long article on Kehoe’s quest. It’s worth a read, but it’s also worth just taking a look to see the photo of the bubbles. They’re going to be on the market soon under the brand name “Zubbles.” Imagine your kid’s next birthday party.
What I find almost as interesting are some of the additional products Kehoe is testing that use the same disappearing dye. They include a finger paint that only leaves color on a special paper, a hair dye that only lasts a few hours, and a toothpaste and soap that turn mouths and skin a bright color until used for 30 seconds. Household applications include a Swiffer that leaves a temporary mark showing where you’ve mopped and a wall paint that disappears after a few hours so you can see what a color will look like before you commit. Kehoe is an inspiration to those of us who dream of inventing something world-changing or fortune-making in our homes. (In my case, I suspect this is a variant of my mother’s syndrome, “Hoping something I’ve saved in the back of a closet is worth thousands on Antiques Roadshow.”)