San Diego based research on wearable tech capable of making users invisible to heat sensors

Team of researchers at University of California, San Diego have invented a wearable technology which will help users to hide from heat-detecting sensors such as night vision goggles.

According to reports the latest invention will work even if the ambient temperature changes- this is one of the innovative features which supersedes current technology. Furthermore, the technology is capable of adapting to temperature changes within a time of just a few minutes, while also keeping the wearer comfortable. The device thus physically cools or heats to a temperature that the wearer chooses.

The team led by Renkun Che- UC San Diego mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, created the device by using phase-changing material which is similar to wax but has more complex properties. The melting point of the material is 30 degrees Celsius, temperature which is similar to the surface temperature of human skin. The team explains if the temperature on the device is greater, the material will eventually melt and stabilize, insulating the wearer. When colder, it will solidify, thus acting as an insulating layer.

The gadget is reportedly at proof-of-concept stage and features a surface which quickly cools down or heats up in order to keep up with ambient temperatures, thus camouflaging the wearer’s body heat.

While the surface can go from 10 to 38 degrees Celsius within less than a minute, the inside of the gadget remains of the same temperature, such as the human skin. In addition, the wireless device can be embedded into the fabric, such as an armband.

The technology has worked extensively on creating heating and cooling effects when the ambient temperature changes and flexible electronics are embedded into clothing. The outside layer of the device is made from thermoelectric alloys. These are materials that use electricity to create a temperature difference, and are placed between stretchy elastomer sheets. The device is powered by a battery and controlled by a wireless circuit board.

The team is presently working on creating a garment, which would weigh 2 kilograms, and will be 5 millimeters thick and will function for up to one hour. Advancing the technology and creating a material which could weigh two or three times less is the team’s future goal.