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Seeing Ain’t Believing: ‘Invisibility Shield’ Launches on Kickstarter

Not only is the 'Invisibility Shield' real, but it's already on version 2.0. And before you ask, it has something to do with science.

invisibility shield on beach(Screen capture/Invisibility Shield 2.0)
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While trawling the infinite wares on display at Kickstarter, buried deep down the scroll, a campaign caught my eye. Not only did it bear an unusual thumbnail image — a man’s torso apparently floating over the horizon —  but its simple, unmistakable product name left me speechless: Invisibility Shield 2.0.

My first thought, “There’s an invisibility shield?” was quickly replaced by, “There’s a second invisibility shield?!” Sure enough, the sizzle reel created by the thoughtfully named company, Invisibility Shield Co., shows everyday people walking behind a slightly blurry section of an otherwise empty landscape … and disappearing behind it.

And when I say slightly, I mean very slight. See for yourself.

According to this video, not only is near-invisibility technology real, but you can also own it for yourself at the early bird price of about $69.

Invisibility Shield 2.0

What the heck is going on, you may should be asking. Full disclosure: I’m neither a physicist nor a scientist of any sort (but I did watch a lot of Bill Nye).

Now in its second iteration, the Invisibility Shield is primarily a single, convex piece of high-grade polycarbonate. Believe it or not, there are no electronics or external power at work here, according to the brand.

Instead, the shield itself is a lens array that very curiously reflects and refracts light from behind the shield (where the “invisible” subject is) in such a way that creates a barrier of near invisibility. Confused? Here’s the effect in Invisibility Shield Co.’s own words:

Each shield uses a precision engineered lens array to direct light reflected from the subject standing behind it, away from the observer standing in front. The lenses in this array are oriented so that the vertical strip of light reflected by the standing/crouching subject becomes diffuse when spread out horizontally on passing through the back of the shield.

In contrast, the strip of light reflected from the background is much wider, so when it passes through the back of the shield, far more of it is refracted both across the shield and towards the observer. 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.

Invisibility Shield Co. on Kickstarter
(Image/Invisibility Shield Co. via Kickstarter)

According to the company, the secret sauce — i.e., the reason it’s not easy to do — rests in the precise and “highly specific shape” of the very small lenses.

“To find the best properties for a shield, we’ve spent years testing different lens shapes with varying profiles, angles, depths, focus points, and separation distances,” the company states on Kickstarter.

What’s It For?

While this looks like something of a novelty in its current form, there would likely be a massive market in the camping space to enhance overall privacy and reduce the visual impact of some outdoor recreation.

Still, this is more of a highly sophisticated cloak than true invisibility. As noted, the optical illusion the shield creates looks somewhat blurry and warped on close inspection.

The brand also notes that the subject’s clothing can bear a small impact on the effect. For example, wearing a dark shirt with a light background can darken the image presented by the shield. Still, the creators claim the effect works from almost any angle and distance from the viewer, day or night.

For best results, the brand says the effect is best when used against “uniform backgrounds such as foliage, grass, rendered walls, sand, sky, and asphalt.” Horizontal lines also work well.

And for better or worse, the effect works both ways. So, the person behind the shield cannot spy on anyone, as objects in front of the shield will also be obscured from sight.

The Invisibility Shield 2.0 comes in three sizes: the 12″ x 7.9″ Mini, a Full Size shield that stands 3’3″ high and 2’3″ wide, and the 6′ x 4′ Megashield. The Full Size shield and Megashield weigh 8.6 and 36 pounds, respectively, and roll up into a carrying sling. According to the company, the shields take between 10 and 15 minutes to set up.

You can own a slice of invisibility for yourself. Early Bird Kickstarter pricing for the Mini starts at $69. It ranges up to $415 for the Full Size and $971 for the Megashield.


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