A Canadian camouflage-design company claims to be developing a real-life invisibility cloak that causes its wearer to vanish in plain sight. Likening its “Quantum Stealth” technology to Harry Potter’s magical coverup, the British Columbia-based Hyperstealth Biotechnology says the material tricks the human eye by bending light around a person or object. Although the firm has provided only “mockups” in lieu of proof of concept—CEO Guy Cramer says he cannot show the actual technology for security reasons—the company insists it has the backing of both the U.S. Pentagon and the Canadian military.

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Invisibility from one’s enemies is the Holy Grail of military subterfuge. Barring an elaborate hoax, Quantum Stealth could allow soldiers or SWAT teams to operate in daylight without the fear of detection, or pave the way for a new generation of stealth aircraft and submarines. Hyperstealth even envisions coating an entire fleet of military tanks with the stuff, creating an “invisible army” that’s impossible to target.

Barring an elaborate hoax, Quantum Stealth could allow soldiers to operate in daylight without the fear of detection.

People are understandably skeptical, but Cramer says he’s unfazed by his detractors. “Two separate command groups within the U.S. military and two separate Canadian military groups, as well as Federal Emergency Response Team (Counter Terrorism) have seen the actual material so they could verify that I was not just manipulating video or photo results,” Cramer told the Daily Mail earlier in the week. “These groups now know that it works and does so without cameras, batteries, lights, or mirrors. Both the U.S. and Canadian military have confirmed that it also works against military [infrared] scopes and thermal optics.”

As far-fetched as it sounds, Hyperstealth’s technology has some scientific basis. Scientists have in the past built artificially structured “metamaterials” that give the illusion of light passing through a straight line in space. So far, these so-called “cloaks” only work in terahertz frequencies between radio and infrared light, such as microwaves. While a visible-light version is possible in theory, no one has quite figured out how to pull one off yet.

Or have they? We’ll believe it when we don’t see it.

+ Quantum Stealth

+ Hyperstealth Biotechnology

[Via Daily Mail]