Is there an invisible cloak?
It's been a busy few days for Guy Cramer, who toils away in the old E-One Moli Energy building, trying to make soldiers invisible.
Since CNN recently aired a piece on an invisible cloak, Quantum Stealth, which Cramer claims he's developed, has been taking a steady stream of phone calls.
"I've been bombarded with interview requests from FOX News, BBC, CTV, Global. You name it," says the CEO of Hyperstealth Biotechnology. "Everyone wants a piece of the story."
Widespread coverage occurred about a year and a half ago, when in the Atlantic magazine wrote a story.
"It wasn't big news back then, but I guess when you start showing images of how the technology functions ... "
After focusing on developing digital patterns for uniforms, since adopted by the Jordanian armed forces and currently under consideration by the U.S. Army, as it prepares for major uniform refit, Hyperstealth developed the light bending technology called Quantum Stealth. The material renders the target invisible by bending light waves around it, just as light bends in fibre-optic cables, Cramer says.
He doesn't want to jeopardize giving away the secret by allowing actual photos, which could be analyzed. So he's created photo mockups that depict how Quantum Stealth works.
"The real technology functions very similar to what you're looking at in the photos, if not better than what you're looking at in the photos."
Skeptics, though, particularly those in university, say what seems inspired by Harry Potter isn't possible.
But Cramer doesn't care who believes him.
He's made a presentation to two U.S. military command groups and he says they liked what they saw.
"We've shown them the technology. They've seen it and confirmed that it works. They have been able to verify that it does everything that we claim it can do.
"That's the thing that surprises most of the people at these meetings, that it works as well as we're showing there. It only takes a few seconds for someone in these meetings to verify, yeah it obviously works for the visual spectrum."
The invisibility cloak also conceals ultra-violet and infra-red heat rays.
"It actually masks the entire thermal signature from the user."
Cramer added, "We've proven it, but I'm not about to show it because there's no need to show you what works because the only people who need to see this are the people we have shown."
Even a demonstration to the media, without photos, would result in one more person seeing the technology who shouldn't, he said.
Neither is there anything on a computer network which could be accessed remotely.
"We've done everything in our power to make sure this information stays as secure as possible."
Two other sources were provided who could verify the technology, but weren't able to be contacted.
Cramer says he's also shown the technology to the RCMP's national security team, as well as Canadian Special Operations Forces Command in Ottawa.
"These groups now know that it works and does so without cameras, batteries, lights or mirrors ... It is lightweight and quite inexpensive. Both the U.S. and Canadian military have confirmed that it also works against military infra-red scopes and thermal optics," he says in a release.
He points out that red tape issues have been resolved to allow the formation of agreements to manufacture the cloak in both countries.
"We're now free to move forward on figuring out how to get production set up in each country, because each one of them have rules in place."
Maj. Doug MacNair, with Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, confirmed that Cramer made a presentation to special operations within the last few years.
But there's been no decision to follow through.
"We didn't pursue it further, at least not at this time anyway.
"It wasn't something we were interested in pursuing at the time. It doesn't mean we wouldn't in the future, necessarily. "We're aware of the company, we have the information. But we don't have a contract in place at the time."
Cramer says discussions are still ongoing at another level of the organization and says he doesn't necessarily need Canadian Forces to buy in. However, Canadian government support is needed for security reasons in order to market the product in the U.S.
According to Cramer, the Quantum Stealth invisible cloaking device could have several uses, such as protecting pilots of downed aircraft in hostile territory or providing cover to marines landing on a beach. Pilots who were shot down would remain undetected, unless they were actually stumbled upon.
He points out that national governments are possessive about the technologies developed and where they're made. The Americans offered him citizenship in order to get him to move stateside.
He's told them to find a way to work around it and, if not, it won't happen.
"I'm happy to be a Canadian and I don't plan on going anywhere in the future."
Bill Jarvis, president of The 132 Group, was present at both occasions, in November last year and this January, in the U.S.
"It works. All members present at both meetings were interested." They wanted to know if it would work for their particular groups, he added.
But the device has to be designed for each specific application.
"The object appears to go away.
"The distance doesn't really matter, whether one foot, 10 feet, 50 feet, it just the way technology works, the way the light is bent, pretty much the same."
The 132 Group, a consulting firm, is helping Hyperstealth Biotechnology find applications for its products.
He said without being able to see the technology, people's expectations may become unrealistic.
"What he's saying is exactly what it does.
"But you've got to be careful with your own expectations of what you think ... It's like anything else."
Colin Worth, president of Cornerstone Protection Agency, a Vancouver security firm, was at both presentations in Canada and also says the device works.
Cramer re-invented the camouflage industry three or four years ago when he developed state-of-the-art camo using patterns that mimic the natural world.
Using "fractal algorithms," Cramer used mathematics to reproduce patterns in nature. Fractals refer to patterns that are replicated at various sizes in the natural world. For instance, the shape of a single fern leaf is repeated in the larger shape of the fern plant itself.
That development was picked up by the Jordanian army. Another milestone was providing the camouflage technology for the Afghan National Army uniforms in 2009.