The ‘Invisibility Cloak’ That Hides You From Thermal Imaging: Material That Mimics Cuttlefish Skin Could Conceal Soldiers From Infrared Light — Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak May Be Here Sooner Than Thought
Richard Grey, writing in the February 24, 2015 edition of London’s TheDailyMailOnline, says “scientists have developed a new, adhesive material — based on the skin of a cuttlefish — that makes objects and clothing invisible under infrared light — a development that could revolutionize modern warfare,” and spying, reconnaissance, as well as help downed pilots and others to escape and evade the adversary. And, perhaps the darker angels of our nature as well. “When the cuttllefish-inspired tape is activated, it makes objects match the appearance of their surroundings –0 at least when viewed with infrared cameras, The tape, which is totally clear under visible light, could be used to create new types of camouflage clothing for soldiers, to help them hide from weapons that utilize infrared sights,” Mr. Grey notes.
This new technology could also “render many of the thermal sights, and infrared imaging equipment used by modern ,military weapons — ineffective. Researchers say the technology could be used to produce clothing, and coats, that can keep people cool on warm days, while retaining heat when the weather is cold,” TheDailyMail reported. “The technology is based upon a protein found in the skin of cephalopods like cuttlefish, octopus, and squid. These sea creatures can change the way their skin reflects light — by altering the pigment it contains, allowing them to blend in with their background,” Mr. Grey observed.
Dr. Alon Gorodetsky, a materials chemist at the University of California, Irvine, and his colleagues, say the material they have produced is transparent; and, so can be used with traditional military camouflage. It would mean soldiers [or spies, or Private Investigators, or, Law Enforcement, or bad guys, etc.] would be able to slip past surveillance using thermal imaging technology — without being seen,” or discovered. Speaking to TheDailyMailOnline, Dr Gorodetsky said: “The camouflage is the target application for the stickers. To change the infrared reflectance of our materials, we take sticky adhesive tape, coated with the protein, and stretch it. This causes the reflectance of the coated tape to shift from the infrared, to the visible. The application of gentle heating can reverse the effect. We are working on making analogous stickers into clothing for effectively trapping or releasing body heat,” he said.
“Cuttlefish and other cephalopods, are well known for their ability to blend in to their surroundings, by changing color and shape. They can mimic everything from seaweed, to rocks, and other sea creatures/animals,” Mr Dyson wrote. “Their skin contains cells known as iridophones, that reflect and refract light as it hits them,” Dr. Gorodetsky said. “The membranes of these cells, incorporate plate-like structures that contain the protein — reflectin. When this protein is altered in a process called phosphorylation, it changes the size and structure of these tiny plates; and, in turn, changes how the cells reflect light.” Dr. Gorodetsky and his team, “were able to replicate this by placing a thin layer of graphine oxide on top of a clear, sticky tape,” Mr. Dyson noted. “The reflectivity can be changed by stretching, or heating the material; and, can then return to its normal state afterwards.” Writing in the Journal of Materials Chemistry C, Dr. Gorodetsky said: “We draw inspiration from the structures, and proteins found in celphalopod skin, to fabricate biomimetic camouflage coatings on transparent, and flexible adhesive substrates. The substrates, can be deployed on arbitrary surfaces, and we can reversibly moderate their reflectance from the visible, to the near infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum — with a mechanical stimulus. These stickers make it possible to disguise common objects with varied roughness, and geometries from infrared visualization. Our findings represent a key step towards the development of wearable, biomimetic color – and shape-shifting technologies, for stealth applications.”
Speaking to Chemistry World, Dr. Gorodestky said: “We hope to eventually develop autonomous clothing-integrated devices that will regulate how a person radiatively exchanges heat with their environment. Wouldn’t it be neat, if you had a jacket which could adapt to keep you cool on warm days, and warm on cold days?”
Very interesting to say the least, as the military, intelligence community, law enforcement, private investigators, and yes, the bad guys will all be interested in this new technology. Not to mention the off-the-grid types, and those that want to stay hidden for any number of reasons, This technology isn’t the only game in town, however, when it comes to an invisibility cloak. A Canadian company, called HyperStealth Biotechnology claims to have developed Quantum Stealth camouflage materials — which renders its wearers invisible, by bending light waves around them. Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak may be a reality — sooner than we thought. V/R RCP