Chameleon Camo is Here — Maybe

You might have seen a post from our friends at Soldiers Systems Daily back in December about a new concealment system developed by camo savant Guy Cramer that literally changes its color with the background of the wearer.

SSD had few details at the time, basing their post on Cramer’s release on his Hyperstealth company web site. But Kit Up! got a chance to talk to the mad scientist himself at the ADS booth during SHOT Show.

First of all, Cramer is teaming with ADS Tactical to develop and market a family of camouflage patterns for the Army’s Phase IV camo program — that’s just an FYI for Kit Up! readers who might already know that…but just in case you didn’t.

So, we asked Cramer about this “chameleon” camo he calls “SMARTCAMO” and whether it’s for real. Of course he confirmed the product is very real and that he was indeed approached by the Army to take down a video he’d shown at a camouflage symposium in Brussels that purportedly demonstrated the technology in action. He said the camo changes color and brightness based on the background where the wearer is traveling. It’s not a mirror or glass window kind of thing where you’d see the tree and rock face the person or vehicle is passing by, it just allows the wearer’s camo to go from desert to forest to transitional, for example, as he’s moving between environments.

While Cramer wouldn’t fully reveal to Kit Up! what the specific technology is, he did hint at a few specifics on how it works:

  • First — The technology is “composite” based and does not leverage so-called “nano-technology.” Not sure if this is actually what he’s doing, but when he said that I pictured fiber optics interwoven between fabric.
  • Second — the technology can be used to make uniforms that are “fabric” based — we’re not talking some kind of plastic oversuit or membrane. Cramer said literally it feels just like a normal ACU, for example.
  • Third — the technology does use power and logic. In other words, the uniform has to be hooked up to a battery and it does use some kind of computer processing to make it work.
  • Fourth — And in truly an amazing development, Cramer said the SmartCamo can change its IR signature feedback based on the background as well. I didn’t know this was necessary, but he explained that uniforms and objects stand out differently in the IR spectrum in different environments.

But here’s the kicker, Cramer said he can build a uniform with this technology in it today for troops…and no, there isn’t a major weight problem either. So why doesn’t the Army just jump on this now? Well, because at this point, each uniform would cost about $1,000, Guy admitted.

“That’s obviously way too much for anything but the most specialized units,” he told us.

He said the Army is particularly interested in this technology in the short term for ground vehicle camo. Cramer said he could put the SMARTCAMO to work on MRAPs and Humvees today, applying panels to the truck which incorporate the technology. In vehicle applications, power and processing wouldn’t be as much of a problem as it would in a man-portable uniform situation, he said.

Helicopters are next, he added.

Now look, this is single sourced from the inventor himself — I have not confirmed any of this with the Army or anyone else yet. But Cramer has a successful track record on pattern development and fielding and is taken very seriously in the industry. Some of this seems a bit far fetched…but I have no evidence to prove it’s FALSE…

  • nraddin

    I have been waiting for this for awhile. Materials that can change color with electrical input have been around for awhile (Think digital paper). The newest versions of this only need power when you are changing the color on them (the NOOK for example). Doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to marry that with a camera system that samples that surroundings and slowly changes bits of the Camo pattern to those colors.

  • Stefan S.

    Right! Hump a battery for your cammo. What happens when high tech goes tits up? Leave this to Hollywood.

  • RustyShovel

    $1k per uniform in a military that refuses to update its basic carbine? Someday the “tip of the spear” might get this stuff, everyone else will get the shaft.

    • r7mcq

      Rusty that’s freakin’ poetic Man! Brilliant! All too true!



        Maybe the “Defense Guy” should take a stroll with you fellas, wearing his white collar suit.
        Let the man take point. Maybe he’ll expedite matters for Camo upgrade ? I think John Wayne
        used that Carbine you’re speaking of in the movie “They were expendable” Iwo Jima.

  • Tyler Young

    Enter text right here!

  • old_hippie1

    As long as you have democrats in office that will spend more money on drug counciling than on weapons and the military in general,the military will suffer.

  • primus

    What a waste of money on these uniforms. As long as troops are patrolling enmasse out in the open this is a waste.


      Let’s not forget the Airforce NCO who is HIV positive spreading it around to other wife swappers. Why should tax payers have to pay for his conduct while in uniform? It’s a waste of money to pay for his medicine and food
      while serving time ala carte.

  • Still our country?

    The Chinese will get hold of one and mass produce them and then all our enemys will have them. Why not just keep it SECRET?. There are just no secrets anymore.

  • somejoe

    Ya. I’ll wait and see what happens. It sounds great at first….but then the problems appear.

  • crackedlenses

    At least we are one step closer to cloaking technology. Machine guns and tanks were unreliable and expensive when they first came out…..


    I’d rather have a force field.

  • Doc

    Screw force fields I’d rather get some Power Armor we’re closer to that than we are to force fields

    • crackedlenses

      Marauder, then Spartan, then Nano, in that order. Hey, one can dream!…….

  • TheEmperor

    Space marines

  • TheEmperor

    Knowledge is power..guard it well

  • Riceball

    I like the idea in principle, but for max effectiveness I think it would be best if it used an e-ink like technology where it would only need power to change the pattern but once it’s changed it doesn’t need any power to maintain it.

  • Guest on here

    If we just Nuked them all and made massive glass parking lots over there we wouldn’t need any camo at all…Just Sayin’ …Semper Fi

  • shawn1999

    Its a late reply, but I just saw this article through a link on another camo related article.
    The solution is very simple for a capitalist society like ours:
    1) Change the logic from adaptive camo to outrageous fashion
    2) Develop a GUI to allow the user/wearer to change the pattern/patterns at will
    3) Give one or two to famous celebs to wear to an awards show (
    4) Sell it for $3000 per unit to all the rich suckers who have too much money to begin with
    5) Split the money up to:
    a) First $1000 covers the cost of that unit
    b) Second $1000 covers the cost of a unit to a soldier
    c) Third $1000 covers cost to miniaturize & create a production line
    With the production line in place, expenses drop like a rock and become cost-effective for general military use, putting a final end to all these camo-fiascoes once and for all- the only place left to go is full concealment (like looking through water or glass)

  • reflexivefire

    Wow, looks like this is finally going to happen. Sweet!

  • Auslander

    I think it was a democrat who gave the OK to nail Bin Laden? In addition, if the Republicans would have spent the money under “no child left behind” to improve our education system, maybe bone heads like you could spell.