The Boeing Company, the aerospace and defence giant, has obtained a patent for a Star Trek-style “force field” technology aimed at protecting military vehicles from explosions and shockwaves. The technology could also be used to protect other potential targets such as buildings.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the design (Patent number: US 8,981,261 B1) is named ‘Method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc’.
It uses energy to repel the impact of shockwaves and explosions.
This artist’s impression accompanies the patent registration. (Image: USPTO)
Obviously, the Boeing patent is nowhere near as powerful as the Star Trek force fields that protect the spaceship US Enterprise from Cardassian or Romulan attacks. However, it could stop a vehicle and its driver and passengers from being injured or damaged.
The technique, a shockwave attenuation (reduction) system, comprises two systems:
1. A sensor which detects a shockwave-producing explosion.
2. An arc generator which receives signals from the sensor to use energy to deflect the impact of the explosion.
According to Boeing, the technology reduces the energy density of the shockwave by creating a second medium in the path of the advancing shockwave that deflects, absorbs, refracts and reflects at least a portion of the shockwave.
“Damage from shockwaves may be lessened or prevented by interposing an attenuating material between the shockwave source and the object to be protected.”
“This attenuating material typically may be designed or selected to absorb the energy from the shockwave by utilizing a porous material that distorts as the energy of the shockwave is absorbed.”
The force field does not however, stop a direct hit.
Video – Boeing patents force field