We may not yet have true invisible armor, but two new breakthroughs in the study of cloaking devices offer hope that such technology is coming sooner than previously imagined.
Two research teams, one based at the University of California, Berkeley, and one based at Cornell, have revealed distinct methods through which materials can be rendered transparent, National Geographic reports.
The technology developed by the Berkeley team relies on punching scores of microscopic holes in a material. These holes alter the way light functions on contact with the substance, forcing the normally reflected light to instead bend around the object.
The Cornell team however, produced a similar effect by covering a material with many "tiny pillars," effectively rendering the object invisible.
The catch is that so far both technologies only work in near-infrared light. These methods won't yet offer Predator-esque invisibility, but the two research teams hope that with funding and more development time, their methods can be made to function in the visible spectrum.
Scaling the technology up for something larger than the microscopic test objects the teams are currently using as a proof of concept will also prove difficult. Given the number of holes the Berkeley team had to drill into its material, replicating a similar process for something even as small as a BB pellet would prove time-consuming and wildly expensive.
That said, you can almost hear military strategists chomping at the bit to get their hands on something like this. If the only thing more terrifying than robotic death machines is jumping robotic death machines, then the only thing more terrifying than jumping robotic death machines must be invisible jumping robotic death machines.
Not even copious esoteric Lolita references could save you from that kind of mechanized horror.