Forget Harry Potter’s fictional invisibility cloak: A Canadian company that manufactures camouflage uniforms has created a mind-blowing, light-bending material that can make objects seemingly disappear.
HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp. has announced four patent applications for “Quantum Stealth,” its own version of the fantasy cloak that could be used to make things appear to be invisible.
“It can hide a person, a vehicle, a ship, spacecraft and buildings,” the British Columbia-based company said in a statement. “There is no power source. It is paper-thin and inexpensive.”
Guy Cramer, CEO of the company he founded in 1999, told the UK’s Express that he expects to see “practical applications” for the technology in less than a year.
“It bends light like a glass of water does where a spoon or straw looks bent except I figured out how to do it without the water or volume (thickness) of material,” he told the news outlet.
“As the Canadian military allowed us to apply for the patents which are now pending, the military is no longer our only focus as we look to commercialize,” he continued.
The mysterious material boasts “broadband invisibility,” meaning it can make objects vanish from a variety of spectrums, including thermal, according to CTV News. Even heat-sensing cameras wouldn’t be able to detect someone hiding behind the “Broadband Invisibility Cloak.”
CTV’s “Your Morning” experimented Monday with the material, which was affixed to a kind of Plexiglas shield.
“The light comes from the sides and comes out the middle,” CTV’s science and technology specialist Dan Riskin said.
“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,” he added.
Cramer explained that the device uses “lenticular lenses,” which are 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 told CTV, adding that the technology has never been intended for public use.
“We’re using the same material and we’ve removed the picture from behind it to get that effect.”
While he has been demonstrating the material to Canadian, American and allied military officials 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,” Cramer 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 promotional video of the Quantum Stealth shield, Cramer said he’s seen an increase in interest.
“Now I’m starting to get some of the higher-ups coming and contacting me for this material,” he told CTV.
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