Intelligent camouflage, Neanderthal tools, genome editing … The latest advances in science
Less intense black, slightly more geometric shapes … The new camouflage of French armored vehicles – presented on October 10 last – promises to be ten times more effective than the old one. But it is not yet enough for the army which continues its search for sophisticated coatings, capable of adapting to their environment on their own. The arms manufacturer Nexter is thus working on pixel tiles whose hues are generated automatically by a system of sensors and algorithms.
The army is also interested in intelligent pigments produced by the Bordeaux company OliKrom. These substances, which can be incorporated into a paint or ink, change color depending on the brightness, pressure, temperature … “We reproduce changes of state and observed chemical reactions in nature. There is nothing magic “, explains Jean-François Letard, the boss of the company.
This science, which mobilizes photochemists and thermodynamic experts, does not offer as wide a range of colors as a television screen, but its applications on the battlefield are numerous. In addition to providing effective camouflage for soldiers and vehicles, OliKrom pigments change colors under the effect of a laser. They therefore make it possible to distinguish friendly troops from enemy troops. They could also help identify micro cracks in body armor or vehicle bodies. By changing their appearance, they would warn soldiers who have been exposed to toxic substances. Finally, used as a spray, they would serve as a target or a landmark for a drone … Nothing is yet deployed on the ground, specifies Jean-François Letard. OliKrom just has to work on its gray matter. S.J.