Imagine if you could just wrap a piece of fabric around you – and you became invisible.
It may sound like something out of a Harry Potter movie, but a Maple Ridge, B.C. company is hoping to make this idea a reality.
Hyperstealth Biotechnology is in the midst of manufacturing a material using light-bending technology, branded “Quantum Stealth.”
“This is something they could actually fold up in their pocket, and bring it out when they need it. Or they could actually make it into their uniform,” company president and CEO Guy Cramer tells Global BC reporter Ted Chernecki.
The fabric, which works 360 degrees, “doesn’t operate on a power source, it doesn’t use cameras, it doesn’t use mirrors, and there’s no instruction manual for it. Put it on and it works.”
It’s not expensive or heavy either, according to Cramer, who says a two-pound cloak will wrap up a soldier, and make him or her under wraps.
Cramer says the fabric can render someone invisible by bending light waves around him or her. And it also removes the ability for thermal and infrared (night vision) sensors to detect the person.
Even the person’s shadow will mostly disappear – with only five per cent remaining.
For security reasons, Cramer won’t exactly explain or show how the light bending works, and has been ordered to keep the invention hidden, much like the object it is covering.
He can, however, provide mock-up photos to demonstrate how the fabric is meant to work.
The fabric does have its drawbacks. If enemies can’t see you, your comrades might not either. Cramer has a solution, however. “We can do a half-cloak, so just the front half is done.”
And if the fabric falls into the hands of the enemy, he has crafted a counter-measure, just in case. It will “detect anyone else with something identical or similar to Quantum Stealth.”
Other companies have had varying degrees of success with a similar material, but Cramer insists his variation has the attention of both military and governments, including Canada’s.
He says he is now in negotiations with Ottawa to introduce the material into the Canadian Forces.
Due to the invention’s secrecy, Cramer says only a select few have seen the fabric in use, such as Canadian and American military groups. Britain is also interested in obtaining Quantum Stealth, he says.
Hyperstealth Biotechnology says it has made more than two million camouflage uniforms for soldiers around the world, including Canada, the U.S., Jordan and Afghanistan. The company has also developed camouflage patterns for thousands of military vehicles and jets, and hunters.
Overall, the company has about 12,000 camouflage patterns, which are all under copyright.
Cramer says light-bending technology hasn’t made camouflage clothing obselete, and that the latter has its place.
With files from Ted Chernecki