The US army wants the technology to make their soldiers invisible. Well, of course they do.
In news that sounds like something from a Tom Clancy game – or novel, depending on how close to an airport bookstore you happen to be – the US military has put out a call for proposals to companies for wearable camouflage that has the ability to shift its colour according to the background. Oh and it wants to start testing this equipment within the next 18 months.
While this may sound like science fiction, the notion of this sort of technology being developed isn't that far-fetched. According to The New Scientist, metamaterials that can bend light around an object were first demonstrated in 2006, but since then efforts to advance the technology have been held up by technical constraints.
The US army wants the invisibility cloaks to function from all angles, on all terrains and in any weather conditions. Furthermore, troops will have to be able to go about their normal duties while wearing them, which is a pretty tall order since that means the power source for this invisibility camouflage would have to weigh less than half a kilogram.
Some potential contractors claim to be already way on their way to be meeting these requirements. Canadian firm Hyperstealth Biotechnology,claims it demonstrated metamaterial camouflage to the US military last year. The company's CEO, Guy Cramer, says that the call for new proposals will allow Hyperstealth to move forward with the project.
So in other words, battles that look like levels in Call Of Duty: Black Ops II might not be too far off, after all.