Those of you familiar with sci-fi movies have no doubt been waiting for the day when some big tech company announces it has a working prototype of force field technology that can protect vehicles.

Wait no more, for today is that day. According to TheNextWeb (via PatentYogi), that’s just what Boeing has done by filing a patent application with the US Patent and Trademark Office outlining what it calls a “Method And System For Shockwave Attenuation Via Electromagnetic Arc”, which in regular person-speak translates to “stopping shockwaves from damaging vehicles using lasers”. 

Here’s a quick breakdown of the idea: military vehicles are outfitted with the system which, when a bomb blast is detected, determines the directionality of the blast and then quickly ionises the air between the shockwave and the vehicle with lasers.

That changes the air’s qualities, effectively creating a “laser-induced plasma channel” which then absorbs, refracts and deflects the blast, mitigating any damage it may have otherwise caused.

Take a look at PatentYogi’s informative video below for a more in-depth explanation:

It’s but a small step from here to ramp the concept up to protect more than just vehicles, although I suspect it’ll be some time before Boeing will be able to protect a full-sized Star Destroyer.

Next year, perhaps?

[Source – TheNextWeb, PatentYogi]
Deon got his first taste of PC gaming at the tender age of 11 when his father bought an 8088 XT, ostensibly to "help him with his homework". Instead, it introduced him to Leisure Suit Larry, King Graham, Sonny Bonds and many more, and Deon has been a PC gamer and hardware enthusiast ever since. He landed his first professional writing gig in 2006 at a prestigious local PC magazine, a very happy happenstance as he got to write for a living about things he loves - tech, PCs, gaming, and everything in between. He's been writing about it all ever since, and loves every minute of it.