Future technology is the best kind. At least it is to me. Wonderfully innovative people come out and publicly talk about the craziest ideas and while you’re laughing on the outside internally you become a wide eyed wonderer. Take Darpa’s latest initiative. The Pentagon’s research branch is falling in love with “metamaterials” and the possibilities entailed within. Darpa is launching a $15 million program to build one-way-invisible, self-healing, and shoot-through shields. There are things like the warp drive most of us have essentially given up on as a reality – although I’m sure Darpa will attempt it soon – and a Halo 3 bubble shield for really real is mind boggling.

Darpa hasn’t revealed how this could possibly be done, but they had fun explaining the vision. Right now we haven’t perfected invisibility cloak technology, which also uses metamaterials. The “Asymmetric Materials for the Urban Battlespace” program has some lofty goals. The idea is to create a device that deploys a material that friendlies will be able to see and shoot through, but the enemy won’t. The material will have to be extremely lightweight and able to deploy rapidly in confined spaces. As a bonus Darpa wants the shields to self heal. This makes that picture of troops in Iraq playing Ghost Recon even more apropos. Of course there’s a little difference between fighting AI enemies on the television versus having real bullets fly at you. At least, I’d assume so.

Darpa recognizes the immense obstacles in front of them, but you have to applaud the attempt. Hopefully it works out and we can get started on Mjolnir armor next.

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