Boeing has sought inspiration from the annals of sci-fi and patented a revolutionary ‘force field’ technology.
No longer relegated to the realms of Star Wars, Boeing’s force field will protect buildings or vehicles from damage caused by explosions.
The patent, initially filed in 2012 but approved last week, is named ‘method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc’ (via Cnet).
It’s important to note that Boeing’s prospective tech won’t be able to deflect direct impact objects, but will instead stave off damaging shockwaves caused by explosions.
Sensors are fitted to a building or vehicle that detect nearby explosions capable of generated a shockwave.
An arc generator then receives this signal and ionises an area to produce a plasma field that will fend off the shockwave, courtesy of lasers, electricity, and microwave.
“Such embodiments as described above may reduce the energy density of the shockwave by creating a second medium in the path of the advancing shockwave that reflects, refracts, absorbs, and deflects at least a portion of the shockwave,” explains the patent.
The force field is very hot, however, and deflects light so those inside the force field can’t see out. This means it’s not feasible to maintain the field for extended periods of time. That’s why it only appears when the system senses an explosion.
It's worth noting that this force field tech could have far-reaching implications, even off the battlefield. Civilian buildings and cars could be fitted with the system to mitigate damage caused by earthquakes or explosions.
It’s not yet clear whether Boeing will actually utilise the technology described in the patent, but our inner geek is giddy at the thought.