Shielding

Special underwear protects wearers from infrared photographers. And a window film that blocks electromagnetic waves but lets in light.

Somehow, I don't see either becoming a mass-market consumer item, although I can certainly imagine military facilities installing the latter.

Posted on June 7, 2007 at 2:38 PM • 27 Comments

Comments

JoshJune 7, 2007 3:04 PM

Not to pick nits, but light "waves" are electromagnetic "waves". It might be better to say that the film blocks certain ranges of electromagnetic radiation.

Yet, I think "hackers" can use visible light electromagnetic waves to do all kinds of "hacking" too...

iwormsJune 7, 2007 3:26 PM

"...hackers...outside can't grab signals from wireless data networks, cell phones and other digital devices..."

EM waves pass through not just windows. Now if they also block the walls, then the entire building has no cellphone signal inside. Not a problem for the military, but in commercial buildings?

ThomasJune 7, 2007 3:39 PM

"""Special underwear protects wearers from infrared photographers. ...
Somehow, I don't see either becoming a mass-market consumer item,"""

At least not until TSA starts taking IR pictures of travellers.

dynamJune 7, 2007 3:45 PM

Sorry, but for most frequencies of interest windows and walls aren't much different.

ForRealJune 7, 2007 4:08 PM

"At least not until TSA starts taking IR pictures of travellers." If they get their thrills that easily, they are welcome to it (at least as far as I am concerned [50+ male]).

AnonymousJune 7, 2007 4:15 PM

beats wearing the same tin foil we had on our heads for so long.

DaveGJune 7, 2007 4:27 PM

The window film might be of greater interest to consumers, who are (or should be) becoming more aware of the dangers of electro magnetic radiation

UNTERJune 7, 2007 4:43 PM

Underwear? What kind of psycho is mostly afraid of pictures of their genitals? That's why we can't get traction on privacy issues - people are trying to protect their prudery, instead of their freedom.

@DaveG: The dangers of electromagnetism? What kool-aid have you been drinkin'? The danger is when you have a highpower radio right under your chair, and you hope to have kids one day. Remember, walls only block out the visible spectrum!

Alexandre Carmel-VeilleuxJune 7, 2007 5:51 PM

To those commenting on the window shield not being applicable to walls that already let EM radiations through, it's worth noting that shielding walls from EM is trivial. The hard bit is putting windows in that wall... I'm sure the boys and girls over at the DOD/CIA/NSA/etc. will enjoy a bit more sunlight from this ;-).

AnonymousJune 7, 2007 6:12 PM

RF-opaque windows could become popular among the corporate crowd as a means to prevent office workers from using cell phones or listening to a radio while at work. There are lots of reactionary PHBs out there who would drool over the prospect of forcibly denying their employees access to the outside world while on company time.

Fred X. QuimbyJune 7, 2007 6:23 PM

They laughed at me in the 70s, but I may have the last laugh... Tinfoil Hats Will Make a Comeback!

MithrandirJune 7, 2007 7:21 PM

Conventional window glass treatments block RF pretty effectively. The goal there is usually to block IR to keep heating and cooling costs down, and the lower frequencies are a side effect.

I suspect someone just tweaked this existing effect, or simply repackaged an energy efficiency technology as a security technology.

MithrandirJune 7, 2007 7:22 PM

Conventional window glass treatments block RF pretty effectively. The goal there is usually to block IR to keep heating and cooling costs down, and the lower frequencies are a side effect.

I suspect someone just tweaked this existing effect, or simply repackaged an energy efficiency technology as a security technology.

JnBJune 8, 2007 12:27 AM

@UNTER:
I think the underwear is more use to protect yourself against EM. Specially if you think it can lower you chance to procreate.

WireheadJune 8, 2007 12:55 AM

You know, I do a lot of artistic infrared photography and I've never actually managed to see through somebody's clothes by accident. I'm not sure if I'm not using the "optimal" technique to see through people's clothing or if most casual clothes aren't see-through to IR.

Oh, and whoever wrote the article does not know what they are talking about. Near-IR for seeing-through-clothing is only a few hundered degrees below glowing-red in terms of color temperature. Your skin just reflects a lot of it and most dyes don't absorb much of it.

MarkJune 8, 2007 3:49 AM

"At least not until TSA starts taking IR pictures of travellers."
In which case wearing such garments is likely to get someone pulled over for a 'special security check'. Since TSA perverts are likely to be unhappy without their 'perks'...

frosted glassJune 8, 2007 5:12 AM

In the 1990s a colleague casually remarked that smearing golden syrup on frosted glass makes it transparent. (By filling the dimples with something of glass-like refractive index.) We asked how he knew this but he could not explain it.

Clive RobinsonJune 8, 2007 5:25 AM

@JnB

"I think the underwear is more use to protect yourself against EM. Specially if you think it can lower you chance to procreate.
"

In general the greatest danger to men on that score is from heat,

Now correct me if I am wrong, but IR photography is based on thermal energy (heat). So if the underware is effectivly designed to not let the heat out....

Roast sweetmeats anybody?

Paul GloverJune 8, 2007 9:38 AM

I did offsite work at a client's office in early 1998 where the building was radio-screened, including the windows, so that's not exactly new stuff.

I think it was a window film too, as someone had cut a small portion of it out beside their desk so they could listen to a radio.

TonyJune 8, 2007 11:53 AM

Interesting that one of the "Ads by Google" on that web page says: "Have your digital camera converted to shoot infrared - handheld!".

Perhaps that will help fuel sales of these IR blocking underwear.

X the UnknownJune 11, 2007 5:15 AM

@Clive Robinson: "Now correct me if I am wrong, but IR photography is based on thermal energy (heat). So if the underware is effectivly designed to not let the heat out...."

It clearly can't be designed to "not let the heat out" and targeted at athletes. I suspect it is designed to transport heat more-or-less uniformly over its entire surface, so there is no thermal contrast to work with.

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