A group of researchers from the University of California apparently are looking into a way to use squids, namely the proteins found in their cells, to create ‘invisibility patches’ in order to provide a way for soldiers to camouflage themselves on the battlefield.
“Soldiers wear uniforms with the familiar green and brown camouflage patterns to blend into foliage during the day, but under low light and at night, they’re still vulnerable to infrared detection,” said Alon Gorodetsky, assistant professor of chemical engineering and material sciences.”You can draw inspiration from natural systems that have been perfected over millions of years, giving us ideas we might never have been able to come up with otherwise,” he said.
The team is apparently using cells known as iridocytes that contain a unique light-reflecting protein called reflectin. They were able to engineer E. coli bacteria to synthesize reflectin and coat the protein onto a packing tape-like surface to create the material that can be used on uniforms. Also, the stickers are said to change into any colour using a chemical or mechanical stimulus.
“There is a lot of flexibility in how one can deploy this material, essentially, by taking the stickers and putting them all over yourself, you could look one way under optical visualization and another way under active infrared visualization,” Gorodetsky said.
However, there is still a long way to go before you see sci-fi camouflage on the actual battlefield. The researchers now have to work out how to sync all patches together and have them respond to various infrared wavelengths.
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