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Invisibility on horizon for camouflage's future
March 16th, 2012
12:33 PM ET

Canadian helps soldiers disappear

By Christopher Moloney, OutFront producer

The U.S. Army needs new camouflage.

The current design – based on a 1996 Canadian pattern called CADPAT – was re-colored and renamed UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern) by the U.S. Army in 2004.

But there was nothing universal about it.

When the Army issued the pattern it used three very different colors to attempt to achieve one color scheme suitable for all environments.

Unfortunately, the color choices actually compromised each environment and the pattern was ineffective in most of them.

This prompted the U.S. government to ask designers to submit bid patterns for each of the three environments (woodland/jungle, arid/desert and transitional), for the field trials this summer, with the winner expected to be announced in October.

The four finalists include a submission from a partnership between ADS Inc. and HyperStealth, a Canadian company.

During their own tests, the two companies found their submission – called US4CES (pronounced U.S. forces) – outperformed the current U.S. Navy Ground Troop pattern by nearly 20% and the MultiCam pattern (used by the U.S. Army in Afghanistan) by almost 27%.

ADS Inc. and HyperStealth first teamed up in September 2007 when they submitted a bid for the Afghanistan National Army pattern. The contract was being handled by the U.S. government, which required the material be printed within the United States for reasons of security and to employ Americans.

So it made sense for HyperStealth, the designer, to team up with an American company for production.

But who is HyperStealth?

It turns out its just one guy.

Guy Cramer, arguably the best camouflage designer in the world, says he was inspired to start designing camouflage for his own personal use.

"I used to play paintball for the top team in Canada," Cramer told OutFront. "We placed third in the World Championships, and if you've ever played paintball, you'll know those balls hurt when they hit. The better the camouflage, the less pain you have to endure, as the other team can't hit what they can't see."

Cramer, whose grandfather is credited with inventing the Walkie-Talkie, kept up with innovations in camouflage. When the Canadian military began to showcase CADPAT in 2002, he was surprised it "looked so basic."

Using lessons he learned from his grandfather, Cramer created an improved CADPAT pattern in a couple of hours using a $100 graphics program. He posted his results on the internet, and it attracted the attention of the world's leaders.

"In 2003, I was called by the military office for King Abdullah II of Jordan," Cramer says. "The king saw the site with the improved camouflage and wanted to commission me to develop a pattern for his Royal Guard."

The king liked the pattern so much he had Cramer develop different color schemes for all of Jordan's military, security and civil defense forces, which they issued in 2004.

Since then he has produced increasingly advanced patterns for more than 40 countries, and the process continues to evolve.

"When I produce something for a military I must be confident that I am providing them an actual advantage and not just a fashion statement,” he says. “I don't look at natural camouflage as something to mimic. This is how camouflage was done by artists in the past. Biology has a limited response; it may be a good starting point but should not be the determining factor. While many people assumed pixilated camouflage was a fad or a trend, I was involved in research that concluded otherwise. The artificial look at 5 feet is not to be assumed at a tactical distance of 30-70 yards."

Cramer uses similar techniques when creating camouflage for the Optifade hunting line developed for W.L.Gore (GoreTex) based on the science of how animals see.

"Gore brought in Dr. Jay Neitz, an animal vision expert," Cramer says. "Together we were able to determine what the different types of animals saw before we found the ones that worked the best."

And what does Cramer see for the future in camouflage?

"I caused a bit of a panic with the U.S. military when I showed the video of Smartcamo uniform changing color to match two different camouflage patterns in the background at a camouflage symposium in Brussels in 2010,” he says. “A representative from the U.S. Army asked me not to show that video again, as I had solved a problem the U.S. military had not yet overcome. I was unaware that Smartcamo was that advanced, but I already had something better coming down the pipe."

That something better could be Quantum Stealth, a material that renders the target completely invisible by bending light waves around it, even removing its shadow entirely.

In the past five months, Cramer has shown members of the U.S. and Canadian military the actual material so they could verify he wasn't just manipulating the video or photo results.

Cramer says no country outside of Canada, the United States and Britain will have access to Quantum Stealth until it is disclosed how it works. But what if an enemy nation approached HyperStealth about acquiring one of these Harry Potter-type invisibility cloaks one day?

"I have to turn down countries that are on the Table of Deny list for Canada. We also adhere to the American State Department table, even though as a Canadian company we are not required to. That is not to say that a country we provide a pattern to now doesn't have the potential down the road to commit violations."


Filed under: National Security
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Perk

    Environ Lab 1-800-826-3710 ? What's the sand and dust....explosive atmosphere,fungus and solar radiation experimentation ? Not interested and will support a God given clean rain from mother nature for the environment. Where is the 70's environmental citizen's on watch team monitoring funding for scientific research out of hand ? Is it getting out of hand ?

    March 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  2. Perk

    Hello ICLRT...what's up ?

    March 19, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
  3. Perk

    'Thunderstruck'...ACDC ! What is Rocket Triggered Lightening Research ? What is HARRP ? Explain Codex + WHO + FAO and see http://www.HealthFreedomUSA.org. Then read Aircrap.org. Seriously ! Don't play with mother nature and God Almighty. What kind of research is going on at Camp Blanding Florida ? Tell American citizens about the Human Induced Lightening Bolts and how advanced is the research and scientific experimentation ? What's the difference in a contrail vs a chemtrail ? Is it a bird ? Noooooo ! Is it a plane ? Noooooooo ! You've been 'Thunderstruck'.....? Take your rocket towing wire research screwing around with God and mother nature,your toxins in the sky and end the funding Obama ! Is it getting out of hand ? What is weather warfare ? Does the USA have a NASSA spaceship up there yet ? UFO China ABC news ? What was that in our sky ? Rocket Triggered Lightening Research ? Are we teaching this in science K-12 yet ? What is to weird ? 70's generation ....heads up and guess this is on us ! Where is Al Gore and o'l Bill Clinton ? Explain CADPAT !

    March 19, 2012 at 11:43 am | Reply
  4. Tex Lovera

    Hey Erin: do you guys ever check your "facts"? You guys really beclowned yourselves last week with that "global warming causes super sharks" bit. You said it was a "truly disturbing story". I'll just quote from Tim Blair's blog:

    "What’s truly disturbing is that the story is more than two months old yet CNN still managed to get it completely wrong. No “experts” speculated that hybrid sharks were caused by climate change. That line emerged from a piece by angry leftist AFP reporter Amy Coopes, whose expertise is mainly in the field of conservative devil babies.

    Actual shark expert Jessica Morgan, one of the researchers for the University of Queensland’s study, had this to say back in January:

    Quote not correct – I have now stated numerous times that it is extremely unlikely that climate change caused the hybridization event … "

    Geez, if yopu guys can't even be bothered to get a story right that was already corrected TWO MONTHS before you even mentioned it, what else are you completely screwing up? My guess: just about all of it...

    March 19, 2012 at 8:35 am | Reply
  5. David S

    Sigh, I was hoping to have a discussion of some of the absurdities of the military camouflage mind set such as point out the guys in a digital woodlands type camouflage with black vests and other armor or the Marines in snow camouflage but with all sorts of bags and helmets and other gear in green woodlands patterns form the 1980's strapped to them. But as usual all I find are trolls and screamers about censorship and the usual right vs left name calling. Oh well. Still in search of a comment thread that is not immediately hijacked by off topic morons.

    March 17, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  6. Jean-Marc Palmier

    The picture of the 'Quantum Stealth Technology' is a mock-up for publicity/demonstration purposes, it is not the real thing. As the Simpsons would say, it's a 'Dramatization, may not be true'.

    http://soldiersystems.net/tag/quantum-stealth/

    http://www.defensereview.com/dr-exclusive-hyperstealth-quantum-stealth-passive-adaptive-camouflagecloaking-technology-for-the-21st-century-future-soldierwarfighter-beyond-smartcamo-color-changing-hybrid-camouflage-beyond/

    March 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  7. ricky steve

    uhhh the only one that works is the cammo used by the girl in the pictures the rest of them dont hide squat what a friggen waste of money. sheesh

    March 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  8. Jean-Marc Palmier

    The picture of the 'Quantum Stealth technology' is just a mock-up for publicity/demonstration purposes, not the real thing. As the Simpsons would say, it's a 'Dramatization. May not be true'.

    http://www.defensereview.com/dr-exclusive-hyperstealth-quantum-stealth-passive-adaptive-camouflagecloaking-technology-for-the-21st-century-future-soldierwarfighter-beyond-smartcamo-color-changing-hybrid-camouflage-beyond/

    March 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  9. LPChicago

    An invisibility cloak should not be attributed to Harry Potter. Edgar Rice Borroughs and J R R Tolkien, among many others, featured them long before Harry Potter.

    March 17, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  10. Adam Austin

    ..Bozeman,Montana......We need to do all we can, to get this technology to coalition forces in the current theater of operations asap The implementaion on the battle field will without a doubt give countless protections and advantages to our young men & women in uniform.........

    March 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  11. Frank

    This is the dumbest article I have yet to read on CNN.com...good job guys.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  12. jon

    These camouflage uniforms are useless if your helmet, gear and vests don't match. Look at the pictures. You stick out like a sore thumb with gear that doesn't match the uniform.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
  13. commentor

    Multiple duplicate posts, off topic, personal attacks.........hmmm, I wonder why some postings are censored!

    March 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  14. lisa d

    Completely amazing, so far 11 useless comments and this guy has done something outstanding. I only hope to invent something great one day...

    March 17, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  15. Dupper bob

    Can't we all be friends. Seriously, think of all the problems clocking will cause. Consider that everytime you turn to scrach that itch some unit could be staring at you and you will never see them.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  16. Rob

    Well I would say the final step. But it just isn't soldiers how about tanks and trucks as well. That be scary a whole unit of invisible m1a2s.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  17. tp1776

    is the first picture photoshopped?

    March 17, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  18. Malik

    I'm a materials engineering student, can I go learn from this guy? o.o

    March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  19. cpc65

    Making the babe in pic one invisible should be a war crime. Sorry, was trying to lighten the mood a little.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • jellylee2020

      In contrast making pigs like you disappear off the surface of the Earth would be worthy of Nobel Peace Prize.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • John

      I agree, the woman is beautiful and should not be hidden.

      March 17, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Haha :D

      ^like

      March 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  20. NN

    This just goes to show how one individual with the creativity and passion can outperform an entire b r a i n d e a d US DoD research bureaucracy with all their hundreds of millions of funding.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  21. NN

    This just goes to show how one individual with the creativity and passion can outperform an entire braindead US DoD research bureaucracy with all their hundreds of millions of funding.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  22. mike from iowa

    @Keilman, this is the forum/site that has been blocking all of my posts for the past 4 months too. I have been commenting here for 12 months and then one day, everything i would write went into moderation, effectively censoring me and denying my ability to participate in public discussion. so, will this post also go into moderation? it has been a month since i last tried.....

    March 17, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • mike from iowa

      oh, i guess now i can post. @Keilman, I wrote 5 letters to the site over the last 4 months. they would send me a canned response, and still everything went into moderation. probably your posts are showing up with some time lag, maybe mine were too, but it stopped me from interacting with the forum community. maybe it's working now for me because i stopped trying for a month, i don't know. good luck, it sux being censored i know.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • azlib

      you have most likely said things about ISRAEL... If you speak the truth or disagree about this apartide gov or the fact it is using the US like a attack dog your postings will be censored.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • azlib

      If you mention ISRAEL you will be censored. This is a propaganda site for Israel.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
    • Earnest T Bass

      Same with me in North Carolina. can't write on other sites anymore. Oh well.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  23. BKS

    Bout time! I been waiting for ten years on to see that concept. Been rumored for so long. One day we be invisible.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  24. JR Jake

    The invisibility cloak has been around for years. Even when I was a child I could tell the presence of others even though not seen. The military has been working on it for years and has virtual command of that system.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  25. wdc

    What seems most apparent in the pictures is that they need to make more of the "accessories" in camouflage also. Doesn't matter how good the camouflage is if you are wearing a black flak jacket.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply
  26. 3vix6

    We can build technology that can make soldiers kill people more efficiently, but we can't employ enough people or help the working poor. Wow.. How we've evolved as a human race.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply
  27. get ready fok

    get ready folks, china is already stealing the stealth and we consider them good trading partners. yeah, right.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:48 am | Reply
  28. WonkyOne

    John Kellman, Winner of the Fool Of The Week award, given to the person who posts the stupidest drivel on the wrong blog.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  29. asche

    John Keilman – nobody cares bro, nobody. Get a new hobby.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:46 am | Reply
  30. ROCKWOOD

    The Harry Potter invisible cloak photos are kind of misleading.... This process involves various cameras, and a projector, and the viewer has to be in a certain position for it to work, but, it is interesting. I think the most successful camo was the pattern on the fighter jet.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:45 am | Reply
  31. Captain Picard

    Clearly this is a direct violation of the Kitamar accord in which cloaking technology was outlawed by the Federation.
    Only the Romulans and the Kingons have cloaking technology.
    A mulit-species inquiry will have to be established to determine the validity of these claims.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  32. John Keilman

    CNN: There is absolutely NOTHING in my posts that violate your Terms of Service. If you disagree, then you better well explain the words you find offensive.

    March 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
    • Moe

      What are you talking about? All of your posts are here. Scroll down, moron.

      March 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
      • ROCKWOOD

        Now don't be getting your lil feelings hurt......

        March 17, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
    • meetoo

      and what are you talking about?? what does this have to do with the HyperStealth???

      March 17, 2012 at 10:54 am | Reply
    • iamdeadlyserious

      All your posts are here. Of course, one would wonder why you're posting that on an article about Quantum Stealth technology.

      March 17, 2012 at 10:55 am | Reply
    • Joe

      I'm reporting abuse on them because they have *nothing* to do with this story.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Reader48

      This is funny....

      March 17, 2012 at 11:20 am | Reply
      • ???

        It would be funny, but he's serious. That makes it sad. Although extremely off topic, BO has shown his true colors by condemning Rush for his comments but is woefully silent from the hateful rhetoric that comes from left-wing politicians and "entertainers" like Bill Maher.

        I don't expect him to return the money. He's a political money w hore and using his faux condemnation as a publicity stunt. His hypocracy is simply the true nature of Obama. He doesn't care one iota about the girls plight or the remarks. He wants any diversion to keep the attention off his record, because for the first time in his political career he actually has a record to run on, and it ain't pretty...

        March 17, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Reply
    • cpc65

      Your posts were just cloaked using the technology this article is about, dude. Say, that works pretty well. PS: Chill

      March 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  33. John Keilman

    Erin: Congratulations, you have just started another controversy regarding YOUR so-called Double Standards as respects Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher. Repeat your own tape...you state "to be consistent...should not Bill Maher's $1,000,000 donation be returned?" Consistent with what? What millions have the Republican party – or Super-Pacs returned to their Republican 1%er contributors because of the disgusting comments made by Rush Limbaugh? YOUR premise is that Bill Maher needs to return dollars to the Democratic Super-Pac because Rush Limbaugh is losing corporate sponsors to his hateful, vile program. Your "consistency test" doesn't follow logic. Instead you should have stated that Rush has returned all of the dollars he and his followers have contributed to the Republican Super-Pacs and Party...have they?

    March 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • Moe

      And you wrote this on the wrong story! Stupid troll.

      March 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  34. John Keilman

    Erin: Congratulations, you have just started another controversy regarding YOUR so-called Double Standards as respects Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher. Repeat your own tape...you state "to be consistent...should not Bill Maher's $1,000,000 donation be returned?" Consistent with what? What millions have the Republican party – or Super-Pacs returned to their Republican 1%er contributors because of the disgusting comments made by Rush Limbaugh? YOUR premise is that Bill Maher needs to return dollars to the Democratic Super-Pac because Rush Limbaugh is losing corporate sponsors to his hateful, vile program. Your "consistency test" doesn't follow logic. Instead you should have stated that Rush has returned all of the dollars he and his followers have contributed to the Republican Super-Pacs and Party...have they? Every night your far-right, propaganda continues to spill forth, insulting the intelligence of CNN's audience. David Axelrod is one decent human being and your disrespectful attempt to twist the issues and villify him and the President as having a double-standard as respects women is well over the top for a CNN produced show. This viewer is now calling on YOU to publicly apologize – on the air – and at least try to show that you mean it. John Keilman, Southport, NC

    March 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply

    March 16, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
    • jadugara

      Hey, John,...maybe all your comments got censored because THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ARTICLE YOU'RE POSTING IN!!!!!

      Political trolls on BOTH sides of the fence!!!! STOP POSTING YOUR DRIVEL!!!

      March 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  35. John Keilman

    Erin: Congratulations, you have just started another controversy regarding YOUR so-called Double Standards as respects Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher. Repeat your own tape...you state "to be consistent...should not Bill Maher's $1,000,000 donation be returned?" Consistent with what? What millions have the Republican party – or Super-Pacs returned to their Republican 1%er contributors because of the disgusting comments made by Rush Limbaugh? YOUR premise is that Bill Maher needs to return dollars to the Democratic Super-Pac because Rush Limbaugh is losing corporate sponsors to his hateful, vile program. Your "consistency test" doesn't follow logic. Instead you should have stated that Rush has returned all of the dollars he and his followers have contributed to the Republican Super-Pacs and Party...have they? Every night your far-right, Cudlow and Cramer propaganda continues to spill forth, insulting the intelligence of CNN's audience. CNN would do well to rid itself of your sugar-coated, nicely dressed but still overt venom. David Axelrod is one decent human being and your disrespectful attempt to twist the issues and villify him and the President as having a double-standard as respects women is well over the top for a CNN produced show. This viewer is now calling on YOU to publicly apologize – on the air – and unlike your buddy, Rush and his hateful party, at least try to show that you mean it. John Keilman, Southport, NC

    March 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • jadugara

      And let me repeat..... Hey, John,...maybe all your comments got censored because THEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ARTICLE YOU'RE POSTING IN!!!!!

      Political trolls on BOTH sides of the fence!!!! STOP POSTING YOUR DRIVEL!!!

      March 17, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
    • David Alexander

      You must be one of those people that I avoid because you rant regardless of who actually wants to listen.I thought these comments were supposed to reflect the article at hand.It's an amazing invention,something that men have sought for thousands of years.Congratulations to the inventor–well done.

      March 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply

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