Our TechWatch publication explores the latest technology trends arising in defence and beyond with this article being one of many featured in edition three.
Researchers at the University of California San Diego have developed a wearable device that can camouflage its wearer from heat-detecting sensors during ambient temperature changes, and in any weather conditions. From a military perspective, such technology could make soldiers invisible to night vision.
The development of this wireless device, which can be embedded into fabric, is still at a proof of concept phase. It functions by adjusting the temperature of the exposed surface to match the ambient temperature, camouflaging the wearer’s body heat. At the same time, the inside maintains a temperature that is comfortable for the wearer.
The technology relies on materials that can create heating or cooling effects when the ambient temperature changes, and on flexible electronics that can be embedded into clothing. The device is battery powered and the wearer can control its temperature.
The current challenge for the researchers is in scaling the technology, and making it available in the form of a jacket that is lightweight and comfortable.