*Editor’s note. Even your daily news provider Outdoor Hub is fallible to the nature of the comical holiday – April Fool’s Day. Well, we got fooled like many of our readers. As much as we all would love to see invisible clothing on the market, it’s just not our time, yet. Happy April Fools everybody.
While Rapanui hasn’t engineered their invisible t-shirt with hunters in mind, the applications for hunters are obvious. Anyone wearing a full suit made from this technology wouldn’t just blend in the environment, they virtually replicate it, leaving almost nothing for potential prey to detect visually.
Of course this technology wouldn’t even be limited to clothing – imagine wrapping your hunting blind in fiber optic invisibility fabric.
The University of The Isle of Wight assisted with the project and hope to develop variants of the fabric for a wide range of applications. Textiles Specialist Professor Barry Green said it would be “quite some time” before the technology could come to market, adding that an early idea would be to make landfill sites invisible: “Sustainability is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind problem. We can throw invisible t-shirts in open-air landfill sites – or even just on the street – and nobody will know they are there.”
From Rapanui’s website:
With invisible clothing the research has been around for a long time but the principle is actually fairly simple. The challenge is to capture light on the front of the garment, and relay it to the back – and visa versa.
Usually this is done with a series of small cameras and monitors, connected by fibre optics to relay the signal at the speed of light.
The size (and cost) of this has held the technology back for some time, but the breakthrough came when we moved away from the “camera and monitor” principle and instead focused on optimizing the light-transmitting properties of fibre optics, using threads themselves to capture and relay the light instead – hence the name “Optic Fibre.”
The result is stunning – a translucent effect that genuinely looks like you can see through the t-shirt.
University textiles expert Professor Barry Green said it could be some time before the technology came to market, but an early application could be making landfill sites invisible.