British Army going to war in invisible tanks as BAE weaponises ebook readers

The British Army could disappear in the next five years -- and not because of defence cuts. Backroom boffins at BAE Systems plan to use e-ink, the technology inside the humble ebook reader, to turn tanks invisible.

The British Army could disappear in the next five years -- and not because of defence cuts. Backroom boffins at BAE Systems plan to use e-ink, the technology inside the humble ebook reader, to make invisible tanks.

E-ink is the technology used in the screens of ebook readers. The screen consists of a grid of tiny coloured balls with a different colour on either side, and each flips into place to make up words and pictures. Sensors on the side of the BAE vehicle will scan the immediate surroundings, and project matching images on the tank's armoured hull, like a chameleon. A 62-ton chameleon with a giant gun on its head.

Colour e-ink is in development in the commercial sector. As soon as they crack green and brown, BAE is in business. Currently, e-ink is just black and white, which isn't much use in modern combat but is perfect for fighting against World War II tanks.

The Telegraph reports the e-camouflage idea is one of the concepts in BAE's Future Protected Vehicle programme. Other ideas include a robot that deals with difficult terrain, a range of scout vehicles, and an unmanned recconaissance vehicle inspired by the Tumbler Batmobile from Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.

Whichever concept comes to fruition, BAE is hoping for a protoype within the next four years, and a working model ready to be deployed in Afghanistan by 2013. Weaponised e-ink sounds like a perfect addition to Crave's own future main battle tank concept, the SubmaTankiCopter: camouflage is a bit of a weak spot, as the current design involves carrying around a large lampshade to hide behind. Tests in the desert combat theatre and jungle combat theatre have proved disastrous, which baffles us as it tested so well in the Noel Coward Theatre.

What other technology could be adapted from our gadgets to help in the fight against global terror and tyranny? About turn, right face, quick march to the comments, where you have permission to speak. Now if you'll excuse us, we're off to try and remember where we parked our tank.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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