This one popped out at me, for it seems that "invisibility" is not only moving much closer, it is now within the realm of pratical feasibility to the extent that the US military now wants it as a possibility for soldiers, according to this article from The New Scientist shared by Ms. M.W (to whom a big thank you for bringing to everyone's attention here):
It doesn't take much imagination to see why this technology would be particularly beneficial to soldiers. For snipers, camouflage is as much a part of their "craft" as is accurate shooting. Metamaterials able to render an adaptive camouflage pattern would be their "dream come true." Think of metamaterials as a kind of artificial "chameleon skin".
So why am I talking about this in the context of our "Transhumanism scrapbook"?
Simple, really. If we define certain technologies as "transhumanist" because of their potential, not just to alter human culture and society in fundamental ways, but to alter humanity itself - either behaviourly and/or essentially, i.e., in its very nature and essence - then this technology certainly qualifies. For one thing, consider only its utility to the emerging national security-polic state: those robots and closed circuit cameras that they want to install everywhere could be camouflaged quite effectively... as could human police.
But as we know by know, one of the favorite pastimes of the transhumanist crowd is to combine technologies - think only of last week's blog about honeybee brains in drones. Imagine now this technology combined with others: exoskeletons, enhanced vision - both day and night - through artificial retinas, lenses, and so on; genetically modified muscular tissue giving greater strength, nanotechnology making cellular repair on a cell-by-cell basis, a 3 D printer in the back pack to "print" spare parts in the battlefield...
...now add metamaterials, an adaptive camouflage capability, mix, shake, and stir, and one has the ultimate assassin-sniper-policeman-spy.
And if you think this is all fantasy, then consider the timetable for just this technology alone:
"Contractors will demonstrate the feasibility of their approach in the first six months of the programme. Those selected for the following one-year phase will submit 10 prototype uniforms for testing. These need to work in all terrain from all angles. They also need to function across a wide range of temperatures, in rain and snow, and without hampering a soldier's normal duties.
"If the adaptive camouflage requires a power source, this must weigh no more than 0.45 kilograms and provide at least 8 hours of operation.
"Some firms claim to be on their way there already. Guy Cramer, CEO of Canadian camouflage makers Hyperstealth Biotechnology, says he demonstrated metamaterial camouflage to US military scientists last year, and that the new project will allow him to move forward with it. But Cramer won't yet reveal details or release photographs of the material."
This is not "around the corner" folks. It's already here.
The only think missing, now, is for some crank at DARPA to be pulled off his honeybee brains in drones project, and be put on to a project overseeing the fusion of metamaterials with human skin via some arcane process of witchery, and there you have it. And if I can think of it, and you can think of it, then they've already thought of it at the Diabolically Apocalyptic Research Projects Agency.
See you on the flip side...