Usually, when scientists are making an ’80s movie happen, it’s The Terminator. So it’s nice to see the Predator getting some love from the scientific community, as a group of scientists are developing a tape that mimics his invisibility.
How? It starts with squid. Certain types of squid have camouflage abilities that are straight out of a Predator movie. Here’s a good example:
This squid, specifically the Caribbean reef squid, pulls this off thanks to a protein in its skin that researchers have named, aptly, “reflectin.” Depending on how the reflectin is layered and arranged, it can simulate an enormous variety of colors and reflect or absorb different wavelengths of light. As an aside, this invisible squid can jump out of the water at you. Just in case you needed another animal to be afraid of.
Anyway, a bunch of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, isolated that protein, and put it on a piece of sticky tape. Properly layered, the protein made the tape invisible to certain wavelengths of light. It also gave the researchers a strong desire to build a shoulder-mounted laser cannon.
The tape isn’t ready for the field just yet, but it is scalable, and most importantly, it can vanish even in non-visible types of light. So, if you were wearing a suit of this stuff and somebody looked at you with night vision goggles, it would be like you weren’t there. At least until you stabbed them with your double-bladed wrist-knife and collected their skulls as trophies. Look, if you’re going to dress as the Predator, you should commit to the role.