What Camouflage Pattern Is Best?

What is the best pattern for military camouflage? Military planners like the idea of one solution for all uses, as demonstrated in the pixelated Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) released in 2004. However, it was outperformed in the field by other designs.


(Universal Camouflage Pattern [UCP])

Pixelated camo prints, or at least the theory behind them, arrived long before the fashion craze. Their history begins with an experimental psychologist (and Jungian analyst) named Lt. Col. Timothy O'Neill. While teaching at West Point, O'Neill thought to apply new ideas about human perception to the art of the concealment. Neuroscientists had divided the human visual system into a pair of parallel circuits with different functions: One neural pathway alerts us to the presence of objects in the world (where is it?), while the other helps us figure out what those objects might be (what is it?).

O'Neill figured that a smart camouflage would have to take account of both pathways, so he devised a pattern with two overlaid textures. At one level, a "micro-pattern" made of discrete color blocks would blend in with the visual noise in a scene and confound the where-is-it pathway. At a second level, those shapes would form a larger "macro-pattern," like the tree branches in a Seurat painting, meant to break up the symmetries of a target and flummox the brain's what-is-it neurons. In 1979, O'Neill's "DualTex" design was blotted onto the vehicles of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment with square sponges, in the first major field test of digital camouflage.

The early results were promising, but it took another 20 years for the DualTex concept to worm its way into the collective unconscious of the Defense Department.

As good as the theory might be, testing showed that the UCP finished behind other designs, like the MultiCam pattern and another pattern called Desert Brush.

The US Army now seems to be standing behind MultiCam as the new standard.


(MultiCam pattern shirt)

The following video presents 70 different camouflage patterns used over the years; it covers camo patterns used by law enforcement as well as the military, in the USA and many other countries.


(Video shows 70 different camouflage patterns)

Science fiction writers have taken their best shot at the camouflage idea. For urban use, consider the mimetic polycarbon suit from the 1984 novel Neuromancer by William Gibson:

His body was nearly invisible, an abstract pattern approximating the scribbled brickwork sliding smoothly across his tight one piece.

Another creative possibility is the chameleon cloth from the 1977 novel Dying of the Light by George R.R. Martin:

They rode forward together, gaining altitude steadily... The chameleon cloth overalls they wore had gone all gray and white...

For more specialized uses, take a look at Camouflage To Confound Face Recognition and E-Camouflage - Invisible Tanks. Via Slate.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 7/6/2012)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Warfare ")

Britney Spears And Lynn Minmay - Weapons Of Choice
An attack can take many forms.

DARPA's Warrior Web
'Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor...'- Edmond Hamilton, 1932.

What Camouflage Pattern Is Best?
If you can't see it, you're making progress.

UrbanSim Counterinsurgency Training App
'Why simulation?' 'He's beginning to do things I didn't anticipate.'

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Bat Bot Robotic Flapping-Wing Drone
'The dark birdforms dotted the mountaintops like statues of prehistoric beasts, wings outspread...'

NASA's Astronaut Rescue Ball
'Ball and closely-prisoned man plummeted downward..'

ARM Wants To Build Brain Chips
'Slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon...'

Sky Fence - A Drone-Proof Shield Created Over Prison
'There’s still a protective field over the whole thing. It volatilizes anything that tries to get through.'

Geoengineering The Atmosphere For Climate Change
'...a uniform temperature for each degree of latitude the year round.'

Archinaut Orbiting Robotic Factory
'mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'

Cryonic Preservation - The Last Perk You'll Ever Need
'Is there not also a law providing for voluntary suspension of animation?'

Computers Understand Humans By Watching And Modeling Them
Soon, your computer will be watching you... and judging you.

NASA Asks For Moon To Earth Delivery Ideas
'Authority's 3-g catapult was almost one hundred kilometers long...'

Musk Tunnels Wisely Restrict Drivers
Too many robots.

Robot Swarms Controlled With Augmented Reality
'You're not thinking in enough dimensions...'

MIT's C-LEARN Helps Robots Transfer Learning To Other Robots
'Talk Between Robots radio...'

Mini-Brains In A Dish
'Cultured brains on a slab.'

Rapid Automated Search For Habitable Planets Needed
'I was near enough it now to set my automatic astronomical instruments to searching it for a habitable planet.'

WatchSense Perfect For Fat-Fingered Smartwatch Owners
'Now all you had to do was wave your hand in the general direction of the components...'

Digital Construction Platform Robot 3D Prints A Building
'It extrudes material like a spider.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.