The Office of Naval Research has awarded $6 million to a team of U.S. scientists to conduct the basic research required to make the squid-like camo. Precisely how the military will use the technology is classified, noted Roger Hanlon, a senior scientist at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
One can imagine, though, everything from tanks draped in a skin that constantly updates its look so that it blends in with its surroundings as it rolls through a patchwork of agricultural fields or a uniform that allows soldiers to disappear on crowded urban streets as easily as they do in swampy forests.
Hanlon and colleagues plan to extract the “operating principles” that make the skin of squid, octopuses, and cuttlefish observant, adaptive and responsive to the environment. The information they gather from looking at interactions of pigments and reflectors at the cellular and molecular levels will be used to inform the engineers and scientists building the materials that emulate these properties.
“This is the bio-inspired approach to engineering,” Hanlon noted in email to me Monday from Turkey where he is on a research dive. “Let the animals guide some of our work. Animal systems are always more elegant and sophisticated than most folks give them credit for.” …
via Cosmic Log – Military studies squid camouflage.