Yes, but can it see through bears?
January 19, 2005 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Troy Hurtubise can see through walls. Remember Troy? He is the inventor of the Ursus Mark VII bear-protection suit. The National Film Board of Canada has even documented his first invention in film called Project Grizzly. He claims his new invention, the Angel Light, can see through walls and detect stealth technology.
posted by WinnipegDragon (53 comments total)
This is real? How does it work? Weird...
posted by mudpuppie at 12:58 PM on January 19, 2005

I liked seeing clips of him testing his bear suit and getting hit by cars and decked by big old tree trunks on ropes and such.

The side effect actions of his Angel Light are kind of strange though, it turns off microwaves and things?

The more of the article I read, the more it sounded like he wrote down a long acid trip. It'll be interesting to see if anything really comes of this invention.
posted by fenriq at 1:00 PM on January 19, 2005

Good thing he didn't try it out on the girl next door. This is incredible if it's true!
posted by brheavy at 1:00 PM on January 19, 2005

The same way the bear suit did -- smoke and mirrors. Killer quote: “It’s amazing what you can get across the border on a Greyhound bus,” Hurtubise said.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:00 PM on January 19, 2005

his new invention, the Angel Light, can see through walls

Prior Art: a window.
posted by milnak at 1:01 PM on January 19, 2005

Sorry, I meant to say via There is an interesting analysis of it's theoretical workings in their comment thread as well.

It supposedly can and does work, but I would like to see independent confirmation.

(sorry for the omissions, first post and all)
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:03 PM on January 19, 2005

Prior Art: a window.
posted by milnak at 3:01 PM CST on January 19

Ah yes, but can a window detect stealth technology?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:07 PM on January 19, 2005

Damn, just finished it and not only can the Angel Light see through walls, it is a death ray as well!

Which is what brheavy was alluding to, I think.

So yeah, you can check out that hottie over there without her knowing but then she'll die in a couple of minutes. Ooops.

WinnipegDragon, I'm going to wait for a few confirmations as well. Its a neat concept but it also sounds damned dangerous (at least to goldfish and fingers).
posted by fenriq at 1:08 PM on January 19, 2005

Troy Hurtubise can see through walls.
And I can see right through Troy Hubertise. Odd that the reporter can't.
posted by sidb at 1:10 PM on January 19, 2005

Yes, but can you travel back through time with it?
posted by euphorb at 1:10 PM on January 19, 2005

you'd better wait a second before aiming it at that hottie, unless you're Mr. Goodbody:

Then Hurtubise put his hand in the light beam.

“I could see my blood vessels, muscles, everything, like I’d taken an Exacto knife, cut into my skin and peeled it back,” Hurtubise said.

posted by NationalKato at 1:14 PM on January 19, 2005

IIRC, this dude has also invented dirt-cheap way to extract oil from sand, and a revolutionary new type of heat shield made from common household materials including diet coke. That's a whole lot of invention.
posted by sfenders at 1:31 PM on January 19, 2005

sidb: well said.

I have a few questions:

Since a photographer was there to take pics of the Angel Light machine, why didn't they turn it on and take pictures of the Angel Light in action?

How does the machine know what it's supposed to see through? If there's a dresser in front of the wall, do you see through the dresser and the wall or just the wall? What if there's a dresser on the other side of the wall? Do you see through that too? If so, why wouldn't you see through any people in the room as well? Is there a one-wall limit? Or does everything in the beam's path turn semi-translucent, like a big old Jello world?
posted by eatyourlunch at 1:34 PM on January 19, 2005

I like these kind of hoaxes for the temporary suspension of disbelief, much like getting completely wrapped up in a good sci-fi book, but then there's always that let down when you realize it's not real.
posted by joquarky at 1:36 PM on January 19, 2005

The whole stealth technology part sounds fishy.

He attached the panel piece to a remote control car that went down the track.

Hurtubise then aimed the Angel Light at the panel and turned on a radar gun.

“I was able to pick it up the panel on the radar gun,” he said.

I'm not exactly sure how stealth technology works, but I'm pretty sure taping a panel from a stealth helicopter to a remote control car and then using a radar gun aimed at the car is not even a remotely accurate way of testing this theory.
posted by boymilo at 1:37 PM on January 19, 2005

My questions as well, lunch. I'd imagine there's a range setting, but no mention of it. Just magic magic magic.
And no investigation of exactly what failed on these occasionally simple machines? He just chucked the RC car and the ridiculously expensive plane and said, "I guess they're inexplicably broken! I'd have to know something about machines to figure out what failed!"

posted by dougunderscorenelso at 1:39 PM on January 19, 2005

This Hurtubise sounds like Doc from "Back to the Future". Wonder if he's ever dreamed of the flux capacitor.

I would think that death ray and x-ray vision technology is the sort of thing you do not make public. Unless you plan on using it to defend yourself against commandos when they raid your lab to steal it.
posted by brheavy at 1:40 PM on January 19, 2005

Funniest thing I've read today.

Really? The guy made a bear suit out of duct tape and now he's gone Real Genius on us?

I'll be impressed when he can hammer a six-inch spike through a board with his penis.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 1:42 PM on January 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

I'm totally putting one of these on my Segway. That way, when there's gridlock in the Segway lane of my modern city of the future, I can turn it on and disable all the other Segways!
posted by ba at 1:46 PM on January 19, 2005

To be clear, I doubt the veracity of the story, but one way or another it would be nice to have either a verification or a debunking. As of yet, I haven't seen either.

Of course, what will most likely happen is that the story will go unnoticed and we will never hear of it again. That, in itself, will pretty much confirm the 'hoax' argument.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:56 PM on January 19, 2005

While I agree that this guy is pretty much a wackjob, make sure you've seen his bearsuits (especially the last generation) in action before you write those off as "smoke and mirrors"

He puts them on and takes enormous beatings while in them - getting run over by trucks, baseball bat beatings, dropped trees - you name it. Its pretty impressive and really only sad that he spent so much time and money on something that isn't all that usefull.
posted by jeffmik at 2:05 PM on January 19, 2005

I'll wait for the Angel Light Mini.
posted by fleacircus at 2:07 PM on January 19, 2005

He also invented blast cushions that he says are the solution to RPG fire for soldiers in Iraq. I like the maple leaf stickers. His fire paste looked promising, too.
posted by zsazsa at 2:11 PM on January 19, 2005

(not to mention the photo has extreme phallic overtones and humor potential!)
posted by billsaysthis at 2:12 PM on January 19, 2005

If this was real, some government (I'm not naming names) would already know it and would already have made him rich and quiet or (bearsuit or no bearsuit) dead and quiet.
posted by pracowity at 2:14 PM on January 19, 2005

Of course this is real. The French are interested in it. Everybody knows that the French ache in their heart of hearts to be on the cutting edge of military technology (which is what he seems to be selling it as), having started that war in Iraq and found that they need every available resource to win it.

Oh wait.
posted by koeselitz at 2:29 PM on January 19, 2005

It can see through everything except the bearsuit.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:44 PM on January 19, 2005

I'll be impressed when he can hammer a six-inch spike through a board with his penis.
posted by theFlyingSquirrel at 1:42 PM PST on January 19

Squirrel, you may also be impressed by Bob Flanagan, who hammered a spike through his penis and a board.
posted by eatyourlunch at 2:46 PM on January 19, 2005

I don't believe the story for a second, but I decided to play along and send a few questions to the reporter, Bob Novak, by email. I just recieved a reply.

As to how he got such an amazing exclusive story: he's written about all of Troy's inventions over the last five years, and has constant contact with him. He says he has seen every other invention work as promised.

As to demonstration: he didn't get one, because the device was dismatled to sort out the "Hyde effect".

As for the rest, he gave me the old psuedoscience cliches about the dogmatic scientific community ignoring anyone outside of their club, and a few anecdotes about garage science successes.
posted by skyline at 2:48 PM on January 19, 2005

Phil Novak. His name is Phil Novak. But your freudian slip is altogether understandable. :)

I want to know what his editor was thinking, running a story about an unbelievable new invention without demanding a demonstration. Without a demonstration, it's pap.
posted by waldo at 3:00 PM on January 19, 2005

1.21 gigawatts!!! great scott!!
posted by NationalKato at 3:04 PM on January 19, 2005

It's North Bay. It's Troy Hurtubise. There's not a whole lot of credibility on the line.

That said, I have had a perverted admiration for Troy since seeing Project Grizzly. I just won't buy this until I see a demonstration (same as with the fire paste, which worked in the end).
posted by Evstar at 3:08 PM on January 19, 2005

Oh wait.

koeselitz, Oh wait what? They are the fourth biggest spender on the military in the world, with a military expenditure just under that of Russia, not to mention one of the biggest suppliers of weapons worldwide. They are also the fourth biggest nuclear superpower, with an arsenal of of nukes that rivals China's. Read my lips: the French are not pacifists.
posted by ori at 3:16 PM on January 19, 2005

Ori: yeah, you're right. I don't really think they're pacifists.

But I still find it funny picturing representatives from any nation crowded in for this guy's demonstration. Although, more power to him: I hope his invention's for real, it sounds cool enough.

Who says that the fantastic future we imagined in the late 50's didn't happen? It exists here and now, folks, and Troy Hurtubise is living in it.
posted by koeselitz at 3:52 PM on January 19, 2005

Waitaminute, Evstar—the fire paste really works?
posted by kenko at 3:55 PM on January 19, 2005

...and Marconi made a device to amplify the attenuated sound waves of Christ's speech.

posted by basicchannel at 4:58 PM on January 19, 2005

Sure does, kenko. The Daily Planet, a great pop-science digest on Discovery Canada did a couple follow-ups on that story. First they got him to test it on the programme. He wore a helmet coated with it and got blasted with a blowtorch for long enough to proove its effectiveness. Then they brought a sample to a university lab (University of Toronto, I think) to be analyzed. Turns out the only reason it works so well is because it's incredibly porous. That was about the best explanation they could give.
posted by Evstar at 5:00 PM on January 19, 2005

AFAIK, most of this guys projects have worked. Granted, they're held together with duct tape and twine and whatnot, but they work.

Would I put on one of his bear-suits and let a bear attack me? No. After inspecting it and testing it myself I'd probably let a dog attack me, or maybe a human with a pointy stick or something.

Would I wear one if I knew I was going to be attacked by a bear regardless? Hell yes.

I don't doubt that he had a dream that told him how to build this. I only partially doubt that it works, only because I haven't seen any evidence that it does.

Exactly how many problems have been solved, how many inventions have been invented and how many discoveries have been made through dreams? Most of them, I'd guess. At least all the really cool ones.

Hopefully this is proof that high science doesn't always come from a well-funded lab, and that it's still quite reachable to everyman.
posted by loquacious at 5:01 PM on January 19, 2005

Ah, he's back at it.
posted by boost ventilator at 5:29 PM on January 19, 2005

most of this guys projects have worked.

That's why I find this one sort of sad. Until now, I was able to hold out some hope that maybe his inventions did mostly work as claimed. Maybe it's just that neither the inventor nor the reporter have any clue about how to properly explain this kind of thing, but this goes well past the limit of my credulity. Oh well.
posted by sfenders at 6:21 PM on January 19, 2005

HERF gun. Bad juju.
posted by NortonDC at 6:54 PM on January 19, 2005

magic magic magic.

posted by jimmy at 9:01 PM on January 19, 2005

If he had just claimed it could see through walls, I might've been on board. I would've expected its actual results to be way less impressive than they hype (anyone remember that optical camoflauge coat that some Japanese engineer cooked up which basically looked like projecting a powerpoint presentation onto a parka? something like that) but I might've believed in the basic invention.

The sheer number of claims made about the device forced me back to reality. Not only can it see through walls, but also human flesh, and it can disable electronic devices, and it can detect stealth planes, and it has mysterious evil voodoo powers. I wouldn't be surprised if it also made juilenne fries and traveled through time to foil supercriminals.

Plus, I agree with pracowity. If someone did invent something like that, a government would steal it, lock them up in a room and throw away the room.
posted by mmcg at 9:27 PM on January 19, 2005

He is a time traveller too.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:32 PM on January 19, 2005

He's Tesla reincarnate.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:07 PM on January 19, 2005

Tesla reincarnate but from the future.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:21 PM on January 19, 2005

I'd like to believe this (mainly so someone can later explain to me how the hell it does that), but I'm leaning toward the side calling BS on it. I suppose we'll see.
posted by Stunt at 2:42 AM on January 20, 2005

Not only can it see through walls, but also human flesh, and it can disable electronic devices, and it can detect stealth planes, and it has mysterious evil voodoo powers.

Well, I can think of a lot of known technologies that can do all that. For starters, as NortonDC said: "HERF gun. Bad juju."

A radar rig can act as a HERF gun if powerful or focused or dirty enough, as can a standard microwave oven emitter when properly deconstructed.

You can easily damage non-hardened electronics with radio energy. You can also damage living tissue with radio energy.

'Stealth' technology isn't actually invisible, not even just invisible to radar. He's using lasers in this thing, that could easily detect radar-absorbant materials. Powerful and focused microwave/radar wavelengths should also be able to easily detect a "stealth" panel, especially by itself with the sharp edges of an uninstalled panel and at close range in optimum conditions.

These aren't mysterious voodoo powers at all. By themselves, they're all perfectly well known phenomenon.

We don't even know what kind of display technique he's using. I highly doubt that this thing just makes walls invisible to the naked eye, it probably has a digital and/or analog circuit interpreting data from sensors and displaying it on a CRT or something like it.

They already have prototype broad-spectrum microwave or millimeter wave portable radar devices that can see through walls, clothes, concrete and more.

He could be using some kludged together amalgam of a number of known technologies and techniques and maybe not even realize he was doing it, mistaking it for new technology.

And while it's fun and easy to point at Tesla and giggle stuff about mad scientists being - well - mad, we owe Tesla a lot. From radio technologies, transformers and generators to much weirder stuff. Ionospheric heating, Extremely Low Frequency transmissions and more.
posted by loquacious at 3:28 AM on January 20, 2005

posted by blacklite at 5:08 AM on January 20, 2005

The motive behind the ballistic cushions is admirable, but the article again reads like nonsense.

“I was very impressed with these cushions, particularly with the way they handled the .375 bullets from my elephant gun,” said Cunningham

.357? Elephant gun? What? Conventional body armor can stop .357 rounds.

"And nothing did [penetrate], from start to finish, from the simple .308 sniper rifle to the powerful .223 penetrator, to the magnificent elephant gun all the way to the bombs, nothing touched my marine, he was totally safe, absolutely, and all the other marines were dead."

The .223 penetrator? What? That's the .22 caliber bullet fired by today's M16/AR15 rifle. It hardly compares to an RPG.

The article also mentions a test in which dynamite is strapped to a cushion and it survives. Dynamite, by itself, out in the open, doesn't do a lot of damage. Physicists correct me if I'm wrong, but such an explosion has to be contained and focused in order to create much destruction, as in a rock (mining) or grenade (war.) I've seen footage of the people at monster truck rallies who climb into a styrofoam box lined with dynamite and "blow themselves up." Bits of styrofoam go everywhere, and the person walks away.

FWIW, I don't buy it as RPG-proof until it's put up against an RPG.
posted by Tubes at 2:02 PM on January 22, 2005

This guy's crazy anyway - Discovery Channel segment on fire paste.

"Now it's, uh - [takes bite of paste], spit it out, that's to show you what happens if, y'know, Bob's outside, spraying his house, the Dog comes along, takes a little in his mouth, washes it around then spit's it out - nothing's gonna happen."
posted by abcde at 10:33 PM on January 22, 2005

Tubes, I misread the calibre as .357 as well. Then I noticed it was .375, as in .375 Weatherby magnum, a cartridge so big it looks like anti-aircraft ammo.

I would guess the .223 was used because of the high velocity it achieves, which might allow it to punch through where a slower, more massive slug might not. Maybe they meant "armor piercing" when they said "penetrator".

And you're right about the dynamite.

Still, I'll bet the guys riding around in Iraq wish the bodies if their Hummers were made from this stuff.
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:21 AM on January 23, 2005

« Older 20K Leagues Under the Sea   |   Britain's Abu Ghraib. (NSFW, but soon to be seen... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments