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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.