UseableArt : Information + Design

Where Video Art Meets Military Hardware and Espionage: The Invisible Tank [video]

Yes, you read it right: the Invisible Tank. Reliable reports from within the British Defence industry indicate that within the past few years a successful experiment was conducted that rendered a tank optically invisible. And not just any tank. A British Challenger main battle tank.

A Challenger is an absolutely enormous piece of military hardware. To give you a sense of scale, it is roughly the size of a small house. And their trick was no optical illusion engineered by David Blaine. The thing actually disappeared before the naked eyes of a stunned group of scientists, suits, and uniformed military personnel.

This is not just a rumor, either. One of the Generals on hand is on record saying that if he hadn’t been there to see it, he wouldn’t have believed it. And the project’s lead developer was actually quoted as saying that the thing had really, truly been done. Naturally, he retracted his statement within a few days (the British Official Secrets Act is not a statute you want to screw around with), but forget any notions of science fiction or future technologies… This kind of capability exists today.

How’d they pull it off? Video artists around the world take note: they did it using the tricks of your trade. Cameras positioned around the gargantuan machine filmed its surrounding environment, the moving images of which were simultaneously projected back onto the tank’s surface, providing a real-time, full-motion video cloak. Elegant in its simplicity, utterly practical, but it kinda makes one think. If they can make something the size of a house vanish while it’s rolling along at 30 mph, using nothing more than currently existing technology, what else have have they tried it on? The personal invisibility cloak is only a few years away, people… Provided, of course, that it’s not already here!

All of you conspiracy theorists out there can cry your eyes out. I think this is pretty damn cool: a truly innovative application of video art and technology… And one which are going to be seeing (or perhaps not seeing) a whole lot more of in the near future.

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This entry was published on September 30, 2010 at 2:43 am and is filed under espionage, invisibility, military, video. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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