Canadian-made 'invisibility shield' could hide people, spacecraft
Published Monday, October 28, 2019 11:49AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 28, 2019 2:18PM EDT
TORONTO -- It’s more likely to camouflage military troops than boy wizards, but a new Canadian prototype is perhaps the technology that comes closest to mimicking the fictional Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak.
HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp’s invisibility shield, officially dubbed “Quantum Stealth,” is light-bending material that could be used to obscure objects of varying sizes.
“It can hide a person, a vehicle, a ship, spacecraft and buildings,” the company said in a news release earlier this month, suggesting that the patent-pending material is versatile and could be easily implemented. “There is no power source. It is paper-thin and inexpensive,” they wrote.
HyperStealth is a B.C.-based manufacturer of military camouflage uniforms.
The material boasts “broadband invisibility,” meaning it can render a subject invisible from a variety of spectrums, including thermal. Heat-sensing cameras wouldn’t be able to detect someone hiding behind the material. In its press release, the company calls it “a true ‘Broadband Invisibility Cloak.’”
On Monday, CTV’s Your Morning was the first to experiment with the material, which was affixed to a kind of plexiglass shield.
“The light comes from the sides and comes out the middle,” said CTV’s Science and Technology Specialist Dan Riskin. “You think, intuitively, that the light comes straight through the middle and comes and hits your eye, but the light that’s coming out the middle has bent there from around (the sides). It’s the bending of light that makes it look like it’s not there at all.”
In an interview with CTV News Channel, Guy Cramer, president and CEO of HyperStealth, explained that the device uses material called “lenticular lenses” commonly used in advertising.
“This is the same material that you see in 3D books and DVD covers and movie posters where by moving side to side you get a 3D image,” he said. “We’re using the same material and we’ve removed the picture from behind it to get that effect.”
The invisibility technology has never been intended for public use, said Cramer. While he has been demonstrating the material to Canadian, U.S. and allied military around the world since 2011, there wasn’t much official interest. In order to keep it out of the wrong hands, the company applied for patent protection.
“We couldn’t keep delaying this any longer,” he said. “The intention was to keep it out of the public and to allow the military to use it sparingly or bury it. My concern is the criminal element using this at some point in the future and non-allied countries using it against our soldiers out there.”
Since applying for the patents and releasing extensive promotional footage of the Quantum Stealth shield, Cramer says he’s seen an uptick in interest.
“Now I’m starting to get some of the higher-ups coming and contacting me for this material,” he said.
Hyperstealth's patent pending Invisibility Cloak: Quantum Stealth Version-3 pic.twitter.com/3PTEj0ggvq— HyperStealth Corp. (@HyperStealth) October 10, 2019