Invisibility is no longer science fiction (or magic). It’s here.

Have you ever wanted to be invisible just to have some privacy? Perhaps using an ATM or sunbathing in the garden? Experimentation over the past few years has developed an “invisibility shield” that provides near invisibility without blocking light. A UK startup, Invisibility Shield Co., is raising seed money for a commercial venture that offers to ship those already made to backers.

A scam? It seems not:

It probably wouldn’t protect anyone from the police or debt collectors, but if all you want is privacy with sunlight, this is definitely an option:

The science behind the invention is not perfect. The shield cannot perfectly replicate the scene behind the subject, but instead recreates it as a blurry, out-of-focus depiction.

“Shields work best on flat backgrounds such as foliage, grass, plastered walls, sand, sky, and asphalt,” reads the Kickstarter page. “Backgrounds with defined horizontal lines work great too and these can be natural elements such as the horizon or man-made elements such as walls, rails or painted lines.”

Victor Tangerman“The startup says it has created a true ‘invisibility shield'” on Futurism (March 22, 2022)

The concept has been around for about a decade and has had a number of technical failures, but is now close to commercial use.

How it works?:

The technology behind the shield feature is quite simple. A precision lens array works to deflect light from the subject (behind the shield), away from the viewer (in front of the shield). The lenses are oriented vertically to allow light from the subject to diffuse as it passes through the shield. Light from the subject’s background is refracted towards the viewer who cannot spot the subject hidden behind the shield.

Ameya Paleja“A UK-based company is designing an invisibility shield you can buy today” on Interesting engineering (March 18, 2022)

Since the invisibility effect depends on the optics, the shield does not require a power source.

The firm offers tips to make itself even less visible:

“The shield works best when the clothes you’re wearing are the same color and slightly lighter or equal to the brightness of the background landscape,” they explain.

“The shield still works great with dark and different colored clothing against a light background, but this combination makes the face of the shield slightly darker overall against the background than it would be if the wearer was wearing bright clothes.”

Jamie Harris“Real-life ‘invisibility shield’ hides user in plain sight” on New York Post (March 23, 2022)

The company has received several hundred orders for the 12×8-inch model ($65 US) or the 3×2-foot model ($394), including shipping, and hopes to have them available by Christmas.

Some believe that the invisibility shield will find use in military operations:

Of course, military use will likely lead to rapid investments in technologies aimed at overcome invisibility. Those who just want privacy without blocking the light have to hope that everything”Dthe “visibility” technique developed by the military remains… classified.

You can also read: The Bionic Man was science fiction; the bionic hand is not. A recent, internet-savvy bionic hand, developed by an American neuroscientist and computer engineer, is the most flexible yet, with sensory feedback. The problem is that while the new bionic hands are going to help most of the world’s amputees, they can’t cost six million dollars, like the old TV show.

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