Next-Gen “Invisibility Shields” Are Here And Stealthier Than Ever

Invisibility cloaks were once the stuff of ancient myth and sci-fi, but a British start-up has been busy spending the past four years making them a reality. 

Invisibility Shield Co. released their first-generation product in 2022 with much online fanfare and hype. Now, the company is looking to launch their latest second-generation shields that are both bigger and stealthier.

The shields don’t require any external energy supply or magic; they simply give the impression of invisibility using optical trickery.

The panel appears transparent, but it’s actually showing a blurred view of what’s behind it. It uses a precision-engineered lens array to direct light reflected from the subject standing behind it, away from the observer standing in front. 

“The shields use lenses to redirect light reflected from the background and the person standing behind. Because the person behind the shield is narrower than the general background, the vertical orientation of the lenses means the light reflected from them becomes more diffuse when spread out (by the lenses), than the light reflected from the wider background,” Tristan Thompson, designer of their shield, told IFLScience. 

The company has made their largest invisibility shield yet: the “Megashield”, which stands over 182 centimeters (6 feet) tall.
Image courtesy of Invisibility Shield Co.

The team’s second-generation invisibility shields are available to pre-order on Kickstarter, which is looking to further fund the project. Their first-gen models were also crowd-funded by Kickstarter and that resulted in the successful delivery of thousands of invisibility shields around the world.

“The second-gen shields work on the same basic principle but we’ve made quite a few changes. For one we’ve changed the shape and density of the lenses to improve the resolution and make them work better for a curved shield – the previous version was flat. We’ve also gone from a layered construction to each shield face being extruded from a single piece, making them much clearer than the previous versions where we were bonding layers of material with an adhesive,” Thompson explained.  

This time around they are making three different sizes of invisibility shield: “the Mini”, which is  20 centimeters (8 inches) tall, the “Full size”, which is 91 centimeters (3 feet) tall, and “the Megashield”, which stands over 182 centimeters (6 feet) tall. 

Despite their size, the new shields have also been designed to pack down as small as 1/30th of their assembled size, allowing people to easily take them anywhere.

Early-bird Prices are £54 (approximately $68), £299 ($377), and £699 ($883), respective of their size, and items are set to be delivered by the end of 2024. 

“The possibilities are endless but most important of all, these shields are great fun, they’re fun to play around with and exciting for us to make. We wanted to see how far we could push this technology. A real working invisibility shield that you can just roll up and sling over your shoulder? Two years ago nobody thought anyone could do that,” Thompson said in a statement sent to IFLScience.

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