The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has envisioned some peculiar and diverse projects over the years, from molten metal-filled missiles, all the way to submarines that can fly. Then there's this new project that aims to create a portable cylinder that can blow up into a nearly impenetrable wall. Because sometimes you just need that.
Could double as a dwelling
The group suggested the idea, which is nicknamed Block Access to Deny Entry (BlockADE), in a request for information that was spotted by io9. In short, it asks for a way to "construct a barrier without human intervention," meaning no touching anything. You just hit a button, or pull a tab and it should expand into a barrier that DARPA says would be "orders of magnitude" in size. That barrier would then need to keep — or at least slow — somebody from getting through it using a saw or other hand tool. Better yet, DARPA suggests it could offer resistance from ballistic devices (like bullets or rockets), be see-through, and be reversible back down to a smaller state if need be.
Similar idea have existed in science fiction, films, and video games (like Halo 3's bubble shield pictured above), but DARPA sees a real world use for such a thing right now. "These deployable systems are expected to have many potential applications ranging from blocking access to munitions caches to creating temporary buildings for those impacted by natural disasters," the group says. Sounds better than a tent.