What would you do if you had the power of invisibility?
Do you know how Sue Storm of Fantastic Four could bend light waves so she can make herself and other objects invisible? That’s quite a reality now, and the good news is you don’t have to be exposed to the cosmic storm to gain such ability. HyperStealth Biotechnology claims they know just how to do that.
The widespread practice of using camouflage uniforms in the US Army started in the 1940s when General Douglas MacArthur ordered 150,000 jungle uniforms for the troops assigned in the South Pacific. They called it frog skin. Other patterns were also made depending on the terrain where the troops were assigned— snowy mountains, vegetations, jungles, even in the middle of the endless sand in the desert. As the name suggests, the concept is to conceal presence, position, and intention to deceive the enemy. A tactic that we have been using ever since, up until this day.
Now enters HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp., “a leading supplier of Camouflage Patterns to Militaries around the World with over 14,000 pattern designs” and has been doing so since 1999. They upped their game by developing a “material that renders the target completely invisible by bending light waves around the target,” and they called it Quantum Stealth. What’s more remarkable about this thin sheet of camouflage material is that it doesn’t just make people or vehicles or even buildings visually concealed. It can also hide infrared and thermal signatures, as well as shadows. Isn’t that mind-blowing?
How it works is the material, called “Invisibility Cloak,” bends light waves around the objects (like Sue Storm.) Imagine seeing a plain jungle, for instance, without knowing that tanks, fighters jets, and even a battalion of infantry were concealed in the background.
The big brain behind this concept was Guy Cramer, grandson of Donald Hings (inventor of the walkie-talkie) and the CEO of HyperStealth Biotechnology. At the moment, Invisibility Cloak is still in the prototype stage, and he only shares mock-ups of the Invisibility Cloak due to security purposes. However, according to their website, they made it all possible through a material with a negative refractive index. If you want to be amazed, you can watch it here.
At the moment, Hyperstealth has 73 claims approved by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) for Quantum Stealth (Light Bending – Invisibility Material) patent application.
“There is no power source. It is paper-thin and inexpensive. It can hide a person, a vehicle, a ship, spacecraft, and buildings. The patent discusses 13 versions of the material, and the patent allows for many more configurations. One piece of Quantum Stealth can work in any environment, in any season at any time of the day or night, something no other camouflage is capable of.” It is also capable of concealing the infrared signature of what is behind it, which would throw off targeting optics in missiles that use heat to target an object.
Even though Invisibility Cloak sounds like a dream come true, some improvements are still necessary. For instance, the user or object to be concealed has to be at a certain distance away from the sheet to hide whoever or whatever has to be hidden effectively. Also, going back to the concept of camouflage outfit, the cloak “won’t be clothing yet due to the stand-off distance required. I would give that about an 80 percent probability at some point in the future,” Guy said.
It’s exciting to see whether this kind of technology could be utilized on the battlefield and what kind of advantages it could provide the military. This technology could be used to conceal military hardware, camps, aircraft hangers, tanks not only from the eyes of human scouts and spies but also from drones and satellites in space.