British startup Invisiblity Shield Co announced the start of sales of shields that make objects behind them invisible. Thus, the researchers brought to life the concept of the invisibility cloak from the Harry Potter saga.
Attempts to create quantum camouflage have been made before. The Canadian company Hypertealth tried to implement the idea, but its designs blurred the image rather than making the object invisible. And the cape from China, which was widely discussed at the time, turned out to be a fake.
The British company has developed 25 models of fully functional stealth shields, but, according to the developers, the line will be replenished with at least a dozen more models. Today, the startup is raising funds for research at one of the crowdfunding platforms.
The image is blurred due to the refraction of rays
According to the creators, shields work best against a uniform background. It can be foliage, sand, grass, walls, etc. Also, the system perfectly masks against backgrounds with horizontal lines. The material of manufacture is a mixture of polymers, due to which the product is light and wear-resistant. It cannot be used as a classic shield, as the plastic does not have sufficient rigidity.
Each shield is a precisely engineered lens array. Due to this, most of the light that hits the back is refracted at the focal point and directed to the sides, thereby blurring the image. A grid of lenses oriented vertically and horizontally diffuses the image, directing light streams to the edges. In this case, the light coming from the rear side is blurred in the horizontal plane, thereby hiding the object located directly behind the structure.
Horizontal lines are projected almost perfectly
Optical matrices are produced by extrusion of polymer raw materials and subsequent embossing of finished panels. To ensure the desired effect, the accuracy of the location of the lenses and their shape is very important. The design rests on a lightweight and durable frame, which prevents the matrices from moving and deforming.
The effect of the shield does not depend on the distance to the observer. It should also be taken into account that the image is blurred on both sides. The system works best if the clothes are the same color as the background, or slightly lighter. The shield is equally effective both day and night, in conditions of insufficient visibility it masks almost perfectly. The prospects are still unclear, but it is clear that the development may be of interest to the military. The construction of a standard size of 950x650 mm costs almost $400. Deliveries will begin at the end of 2022.