It might sound like a perk from Call of Duty, but this new invisibility technology dubbed ‘Artificial Skin’ is in fact very real, and could change the face of warfare.
Having a device that makes you invisible seems like something out of a sci-fi film (or Harry Potter at least), but South Korean researchers seem to have achieved just that, according to industry source Defense One.
The innovative camouflage is composed of many bendable patches which can adjust heat and colour within five seconds, depending on the characteristics of the surrounding environment. The patches should therefore render the wearer to be accurately visibly camouflaged regardless of changing environment, and also incredibly hard to detect even via thermal cameras. But how does this incredible tech actually work?
Each patch contains “thermochromic crystals” which can change colour in the infrared spectrum, depending on the temperature. The change of colour in the visible spectrum is then achieved with a separate panel, which replicates its environment.
The above image shows how the patches performed both in daytime, where the patch changes visible colour, and during the night-time when the patch changes its infrared signature. As you can see, the results seem highly impressive but there are still some problems to overcome.
The main issue is that it is very difficult to change the panels to the ambient colour surrounding them; in the above image this was achieved by inputting the colour rather than any actual detection equipment. One possible solution is integrating micro-cameras into the panels so that it can function autonomously, but that could prove prohibitively expensive for use as regular military equipment.
It’s certainly an intriguing concept that has a real future, and we can’t wait to see the first prototype suit made entirely from this innovative material; but it seems there are still quite a few years ahead of us before you can buy your own magical cloak of invisibility for your budget-busting Harry Potter cosplay.