The aircraft and defense company Boeing has earned a new patent for “method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc” which reminds of Star Wars or Star Trek. It is essentially a laser force field that uses energy for deflecting damage and is similar to the glowing shields that we see in these movies. The system has been designed for protecting vehicles and buildings from the effects of shockwaves from a nearby impact. It comprises a sensor to deflect a shockwaves from a nearby impact and an arc generator which receives signal from the sensor and ionizes a small area, generating plasma field between the explosion and the target using electricity, laser and microwaves.
As compared to the surrounding area, this small plasma field would differ in terms of density as well as temperature, providing a buffer between the target and the explosion. This would act as a barrier to shockwaves and prevent them from causing any damage. The patent says “Such embodiments as described above may reduce the energy density of the shockwave by creating a second medium in the path of the advancing shockwave that reflects, refracts, absorbs and deflects at least a portion of the shockwave.”
This new system is not suitable for enveloping a building or vehicle and holding it for any substantial length of time as it ionizes and heats the air. However, it still has the potential to strengthen the security with its ability to activate and deactivate automatically. Technically it is possible to create shield systems that we see in Star Trek and Star Wars. Last year, some of the physics students had determined that it is possible to hold a plasma shield in place with the help of an electromagnetic field. However, such shields would also deflect light and would leave everyone inside unable to see anything around them.