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In the Star Wars universe, force fields are shown as impenetrable walls that keep blaster fire from harming the ships.
This week, Boeing was issued a patent for generating force fields that keep shockwaves from harming military vehicles.
An armored vehicle in a war region, needs to be protected from shockwaves. An explosive detonates near the vehicle, releasing sharpnels and shockwaves. Sensors on the vehicle detect the explosion and determine the direction of the explosion, based on the light generated by the explosion.
Immediately, the anti-shockwave system is deployed. Laser sources send out high intensity laser pulses in the direction of the explosion. The laser pulses ionize the air to form a laser-induced plasma channel (LIPC).
The plasma channel differs from the ambient air in density, temperature and composition. The plasma channel causes some of the shockwave to be reflected, refracted, absorbed and deflected. Thereby, saving the vehicle from considerable damage.
The technique may also be used to protect fixed structures such as bunkers, buildings; marine vessels such as surface ships, submarines, offshore platforms; and aircraft.
Patent Number – US 8,981,261 B1
Title – METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR SHOCKWAVE ATTENUATION VIA ELECTROMAGNETIC ARC
Inventor – Brian J. Tillotson
Assignee – The Boeing Company
Filed – May 30, 2012, as Appl. No. 13/483,995.
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