Boeing’s sci-fi-inspired force-field system can offer protection against explosions

Glancing over the details of a patent recently granted to Boeing, it seems entirely probable that those in its R&D team spend most of their spare time watching sci-fi flicks.

The patent describes a “method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc.” In plain speak, this means Boeing is looking at the idea of developing technology capable of creating force fields that could work to protect military vehicles from shock waves.

As explained in a video by PatentYogi (above), sensors on an army vehicle would detect the location of a nearby explosion. The vehicle’s automatic anti-shockwave system would then instantly deploy by firing high-intensity laser pulses in the direction of the explosion.

“The laser pulses ionize the air to form a laser-induced plasma channel,” PatentYogi explains in the video. The temperature and density of the plasma channel, or force field, would differ enough from the surrounding air to cause it to reflect, refract and absorb incoming shockwaves, thereby saving the vehicle and its occupants from certain destruction.

The technology could also be used to protect marine vessels, buildings, and aircraft, though keep in mind, it only protects objects from nearby blast waves, and not direct hits.

The patent was actually filed three years ago though was only granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office in recent days.

Better known for manufacturing passenger planes, Chicago-based Boeing also does a lot of work in the field of defense and security systems, with this latest patent demonstrating its continuing and ambitious work in the field.

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