Heat-Changing Pixels Camouflage Tanks From Infrared Sensors

[Photo: BAE Systems]

Camouflage has been around for a quite a while. And though our current camouflage might seem adequate, the one thing we can’t camouflage through any practical means is the infrared radiation our bodies give off. Hotter objects give off more energy on the infrared spectrum than cooler ones  This makes it easy to pick out things like tanks or helicopters when using infrared sensors.

British defense company BAE Systems, one of the largest military contractors in the world, has just introduced a system that allows large vehicles to camouflage their heat signature. They system relies on hexagonal "pixels" placed on the surface of the vehicle. (I guess square pixels just weren’t good enough for them?)

[Photo: BAE Systems]

These unique pixels have the ability to rapidly change their temperature in order to blend into their surroundings. The system can also change individual pixels to create practically any design on the vehicle. They’re quick, too: Under an infrared lens the vehicle they demo the camo on goes from visible to invisible in about two seconds--and I mean invisible.

The pixels are about the size of your hand, and they're easy to replace if they get damaged. As you can see in the video below, replacing a pixel is as easily as sticking some Lego blocks together.

[BAE Systems via Wired.com]

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