Childhood dreams come true: Quantum Stealth is a material that can make things and people almost invisible.
Developed by Canadian camouflage uniform manufacturer Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corp., the material bends light around objects – and people – to make them ‘disappear’. Initially developed for military applications, the material not only makes objects invisible to the naked eye; it also conceals them from infrared, ultraviolet and thermal imagers, making it what the developers call a ‘broadband invisibility cloak’.
Similar to 3D posters – but without the image
The material is basically a thin sheet of plastic made up of an array of cylindrical lenses, also known as a lenticular sheet. This technology has been around for decades and it is most commonly used to create 3D posters, books and DVD covers. When moved, the lenses create a 3D image, only in this case without the picture. When multiple lenticular sheets with different lens distributions are layered in the correct manner, they can create “dead spots” by blocking light from passing through and therefore hiding the object behind them.
Hyperstealth Biotechnology has patented thirteen different Quantum Stealth variations: while some allow items to be concealed, others distort or replicate objects in order to create confusion. Apart from being used for military applications, there is also a strong chance the material might be used to manufacture clothing for everyday people, says Hyperstealth Biotechnology’s CEO Guy Cramer.
Quantum Stealth for good
According to the company, the material can also be used to triple the energy output of solar panels due to its large reflective surface area. Hyperstealth’s “solar panel amplifier” was able to far surpass the maximum specified output for thin film, monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels. This means harnessing solar power in areas with low solar radiation such as Canada could become just as effective as it is in lower latitudes.
Currently just a prototype, Quantum Stealth is expected to be commercially available within a year. So while the material is not fully functional yet, we are probably just one small step away from being able to shop for invisibility cloaks, t-shirts and trousers – and one huge step away from making omnidirectional invisibility, Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, a reality.
"The material not only makes objects invisible to the naked eye; it also conceals them from infrared, ultraviolet and thermal imagers."