Military sees the electroactive light

The U.S. military will use a flexible, lightweight light panel made from an electroactive polymer based-material to light up its tents.


We've seen the light, and it's crushable.

The U.S. military will use a flexible, lightweight and, yes, crushable light panel made from an electroactive polymer-based material to light up tents and other "softwall" shelters. These SuperFlex panels can be folded, spindled and even stabbed and still kick out either visible or near-infrared light.

Produced by Crosslink of St. Louis, SuperFlex promises to turn almost any object into a light source thanks to a polythiophene-based, conductive polymer known as PEDOT. Virtually anything--textiles, composites, plastics or metals--can be coated with SuperFlex and then plugged into any AC outlet, according to Gizmag. (Consider a foldable map that emits its own light.)

SuperFlex may be eco-friendly as well. For a start, it will replace the fragile and nasty mercury-laden fluorescent tubes used by the military today. The new panels will not need to be packed in heavy protective crates, but instead will be attached to the inside of a tent. No assembly required. No disassembly either; the lighting collapses and is packed along with the tent.

This product promises to be the biggest boon for the camping industry since the invention of the sleeping bag.

About the author

    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at Disclosure.


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