Tank uses thermal camouflage to transform into a cow

What's you're seeing above is a a CV90 light tank outfitted with BAE Systems' ADAPTIV, a form of camouflage that can be used to trick heat-sensing technology. According to its designers, ADAPTIV can render the tank entirely invisible to thermal sensors or make it look like an automobile...or even a bovine.

Explains the BBC:

The hi-tech camouflage uses hexagonal panels or pixels made of a material that can change temperature very quickly. About 1,000 pixel panels, each of which is 14cm across, are needed to cover a small tank.

The panels are driven by on-board thermal cameras that constantly image the ambient temperature of the tank's surroundings. This is projected on to the panels to make it harder to spot. The cameras can also work when the tank is moving.

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BAE estimates that this thermal invisibility cloak could be available within two years. All you would-be cow-tippers with thermal goggles, beware.

[Video via Defense Updates]

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DISCUSSION

there's a fair amount of dissenting views on gizmodo as to whether this is even possible. the dissent boils down to the fact that regardless of what the panels on the side of the vehicle are showing to make it look like the vehicle is the same temp as the ambient temperature, IF the vehicle itself is hotter than the surrounding air you can't remove the increased temperature - it's still there, so the increased temperature is going to be visible *somewhere* - cool panels aren't going to help much if the vehicle in back of the panels is giving off higher temperatures that will clearly show in night vision.

if i am grokking the argument correctly you'd end up with the vehicle itself invisible but clearly visible exhaust or heat venting for anyone with night vision to spot. would be like an invisible coal powered steam locomotive. sure you can't "see" the train approaching you on the tracks, but there's still a huge plume of smoke and steam accompanied by the sound of a locomotive barreling towards you.