Illustration for article titled How to make a tank look like a cow in infrared

This infrared paneling can make a tank look like an SUV, provided it's night and you're looking through infrared goggles. Find out how the army might upholster tanks to make them whatever shape they need.


In general, it's tough to move tanks around. They take a lot of fuel, they require the right terrain, and of course everyone can see them coming. At least, they can during the day. When nightfall comes, it was possible to get around without being seen. And then someone spoiled it all by inventing infrared goggles. Infrared light shows a tank as clearly at night as regular light does during the day.

But now there seems to be a way to block that light, although it's not an easy way. Special panels made of many small 'pixels' can now monitor the air temperature outside the tank, monitor the temperature on the surface of the tank, and adjust their temperature to split the difference. Although infrared isn't heat, but light, keeping a close control of temperature is the most practical way of 'dousing' that light.


It can also be an interesting way of manipulating that light. Since the panels don't just mask temperature, but control it, they can make little shapes out of high-temperature pixels. (Like a Lite-Brite, but with infrared.) In the picture above a tank changes its configuration of heated pixels to look like an SUV. The upholstered tanks can also give the pictures the impression of being cars, or even cows. Reports state, though, that the panels are most effective from three to four hundred yards away, so that no one wonders why a cow sounds like that.

Via The BBC.

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