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Boeing developing 'Star Wars' force fields

Posted on Monday, 23 March, 2015 | Comment icon 11 comments

The force field would protect army vehicles from nearby explosions. Image Credit: LCpl Scott W. Whiting
The aerospace giant has been granted a patent for a way to shield against explosion shockwaves.
Boeing has succeeded in patenting a concept for a new type of force field that wouldn't look out of place in a Star Wars movie.

Designed to protect a target from the damaging effects of a shockwave from a nearby explosion, the sophisticated new system, which is capable of automatically sensing when it needs to activate, works by producing a plasma field in front of the target using a combination of lasers, electricity and microwaves.
By producing a localized region that differs from the surrounding environment the force field acts as a buffer that effectively stops the shockwave from reaching and damaging the target.

It isn't clear when, if at all, the system will ever see actual use on the battlefield but if it does then its most likely role will be to protect Humvees and other lightly armored vehicles during combat.

Source: | Comments (11)

Tags: Boeing, Shields

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Father Merrin on 23 March, 2015, 13:09
The shockwaves from IED's or grenades or even old fashioned mines dont pose a huge risk to armoured vehicle's anyway!unless its within very close proximity (like a direct hit) its the shrapnel that does the damage! Its the infantry out with a vehicle that suffer from shockwaves, a nearby blast can take their eardrums out and literally cause brain damage!,
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer on 23 March, 2015, 14:49
From the drawing in the CNET article, The shrapnel and shockwave appear to have to be a fair distance from the vehicle. Perhaps the system senses in-coming shells.
Comment icon #4 Posted by seeder on 23 March, 2015, 16:25
Headline says Boeing developing 'Star Wars' force fields Story says Boeing has succeeded in patenting a 'concept'.... or another word for an idea
Comment icon #5 Posted by GreenmansGod on 23 March, 2015, 16:36
It is a start, but I don't see to being all that practical.
Comment icon #6 Posted by stevemagegod on 23 March, 2015, 18:38
Cant wait to see the finished product.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Wondering Soul on 23 March, 2015, 19:18
What seeder said; its a patent so if anyone does make one, boeing can sue them for patent infringement. Apple does this alot .....
Comment icon #8 Posted by paperdyer on 23 March, 2015, 19:56
Here's the link to the patent if anyone's interested
Comment icon #9 Posted by The Id3al Experience on 23 March, 2015, 20:31
Can you patent anything that may or may not be possible?
Comment icon #10 Posted by keithisco on 23 March, 2015, 20:32
It really is just a concept with the only "unique" feature being the embodiment of a proximity sensor with an arc generator (as far as I can see from reading the full patent). and, potentially, conductive paths for EM dispersion to ground. That the USPTO actually granted a Patent is quite surprising to be honest as the concept is not new with plasma fields being promulgated in Science Fiction literature for several decades-
Comment icon #11 Posted by keithisco on 23 March, 2015, 21:41
Can you patent anything that may or may not be possible? No... you can only patent specific applications requiring (in this case) hardware applications. For instance: you cannot patent a fundamental Law of Physics, it remains within the Public Domain - it is just how you use that Physical Law to produce a product that can lead to a Patent. You cannot patent something that is Fantasy (you can copyright the name of the "impossible" but that is all).

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