How does nature aid in creating new camouflage?
The history of life on this planet has been driven partly by the constant battle of wills between predator and prey. This violent dance has forced predators to become cannier, use more sophisticated weapons, or face starvation and extinction.
For their prey, they have had to become faster, larger, tougher, or work as teams to improve their chances of survival.
But, with all the will in the world, these strategies rely on an animal's ability ultimately "get physical." Wouldn't it be better to avoid being attacked in the first place?
But how do you do that? By not being seen, of course. After all, as Sun Tzu famously said, "the greatest victory is that which requires no battle."
Nature hit on this concept millions of years ago and has gradually tinkered with how animals can avoid being seen. The zebra's stripes, the chameleon's skin, and the stick insect's body, are all sublime examples of this strategy in action.
By hiding in plain sight, these creatures can dramatically improve their chances of survival in a world where they are on the menu!
Humans are also born of nature and, for better or worse, have become our own predators and prey. While we may not hunt each other for food, we have been killing each other in war since the dawn of time.
Just like the complex interplay of predator and prey, our military technology has evolved in much the same way. But, the advent of the firearm changed the world of war forever.
Even the thickest plate armor cannot protect against a large and fast enough high-speed bullet. But the best way to avoid being hit by a bullet is to not be in its way!
Even better is not to be the target of a bullet. This is where camouflage has proved invaluable for armed forces around the world.
Camouflage technology has changed a lot over the years, from the famous "dazzle camouflage" of battleships in WW1 to the sophisticated strategies used by snipers today.
But, these forms of camouflage are "fixed" to a particular environment. They cannot adapt dynamically like a cuttlefish or a chameleon.
But that might be about to change.
Enter Polaris Solutions, who might have developed the next evolution in camouflage for war.
Its multi-spectral camouflage is inspired by nature and can hide objects from view in the visible, infrared, and even radar parts of the EM spectrum. This "smart" camouflage, inspired by the octopus, can change from clear to opaque depending on the temperature of its surroundings.
You can be sure that this would change how soldiers fight on the battlefield forever, and it could be the first step toward making people invisible, like the Predator!
And all thanks to nature-inspired engineering!