A new project aims to manufacture and sell a real “invisible shield” offering "high-resolution invisibility” through the power of light reflection.
The UK-based start-up – Invisibility Shield Co – is still in its crowdfunding stage, but judging by the preliminary media put out by the team, the product is pretty convincing.
The transparent-looking plastic panel doesn’t require any electricity or external energy supply. Instead, it uses a sophisticated optical lens that cleverly reflects light to give the impression that the subject behind the panel is invisible.
The panel appears transparent – but in reality, it's showing a blurred representation of what's behind it. Light conditions and the clothing of the person behind the shield can impact how effective the illusion is, but the start-up says results are the same whether the observer is standing 5 meters or 100 meters (16 or 328 feet) away from the shield.
It works on a similar principle to lenticular printing, those slightly ridged pictures that appear to be three-dimensional depending on how you look at them.
“Each shield uses a precision engineered lens array to direct much of the light reflected from the subject away from the observer, sending it sideways across the face of the shield to the left and right," the startup writes on their Kickstarter
“From the observer's perspective, this background light is effectively smeared horizontally across the front face of the shield, over the area where the subject would ordinarily be seen," they add.
The crowdfunding page has already nailed its target. As of April 6, the project had received over £163,000 ($214,134) from 1,065 backers after setting out with a £5,000 ($6,540) goal – and there's still over a month to go.
A few years ago, a number of similar products emerged, although many of these projects met hurdles and appeared to vanish. Noticing this gap in the market, Invisibility Shield Co decided to pick up the baton.
“Disappointed by the lack of progress and the continued unavailability of actual working invisibility shields, we decided to step things up and go all in on our project to create one,” the start-up explains.
So far, they’ve created 25 fully functional invisibility shields, but they now hope to use their new money to scale up. They hope to create two sizes: a small one that’s around 21 by 31 centimeters (8.3 by 12.2 inches) in size, available for £49 ($64), and a larger one that measures 65 by 95 centimeters with a price tag of £299 ($391). The shields are also 100 percent recyclable, which is always a plus.