Change your car’s color and style by flipping a switch
Hasn’t happened yet, but it’s in the future. Or, at least, it might be.
Military technology has a way of filtering into civilian applications. Night vision goggles for hunters. GPS devices for getting driving directions. Even rations became a consumer product: Spam.
Now there’s a new military advance which, though still in the experimental stages, has interesting civilian possibilities.
They’ve developed an invisible tank.
The British have done it, and they expect it to be operational by 2012.
No, this is not a joke. It isn’t April 1st. It’s for real.
The system is a clever use of cameras and projectors mounted on the tank in a manner which is very much top secret. But the result is that the tank is able to project onto itself the image of whatever is behind it, from whatever direction you define “behind.” So, if you are looking at the tank, it’s as though you were looking through the tank or, in short, as though it wasn’t there. The system is the project of Sir John Pendry of the Imperial College, a theoretical physicist likened by some to the famous “Q” of the James Bond novels.
Of course, an invisible car wouldn’t be a very good idea, except in Malibu commercials.
But if they can make a tank look like its background, then they could make a car look like whatever you’d like. You could change its color, at will. Add flames, racing stripes, a business name, two-tone paint schemes, even a vinyl roof – just by flipping a switch to select what you wanted it to look like. Your car could have an outfit for every occasion, be it festival or funeral.
The entire concept of automotive appearance could change. Instead of having to settle for a license plate reading DANSMOM, the lady who is Dan’s mon could actually have Dan’s image on the side of her minivan. Safety could be enhanced, too. Instead of hanging a “Baby on Board” sign directly in the driver’s line of sight through the side window, the message could simply be plastered all over the car, to be eliminate when the baby was not on board.
The entire aftermarket automotive appearance industry could be altered, too. Instead of having to take that Benz to Unique Motorsports to have it’s appearance altered, the NBA star or star wannabe could just download a new graphic for the car – something of an automotive equivalent of getting a new ring tone for a cell phone.
Of course, the more a car becomes a medium of expression, the more likely that someone’s going to be offended by the message. So, there will probably be some effort made to restrict appearance, and court battles will inevitably ensue. Plus, of course, this involves a car. So, the state Motor Vehicle Department will, no doubt, work to figure out a way to tax it and charge a licensing fee.
But it will certainly be a long way from having it any color you want, so long as it’s black.