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I got this question from playing games like Halo and Borderlands (I know kinda dumb but raised a good question) in which the primary protection is an electric shield. Now I'm wondering if it would be possible to use energy to create a barrier in which physical objects either get disintegrated or deflected. Id imagine magnetism would come into play somewhere.

This kind of technology would be arguably the most useful invention because it would enable us to protect ourselves, not in war, but in situations that normal protection couldn't. Such as on spacecraft and rockets, common collisions and asteroids wouldn't be an issue. I would imagine the amount of protection, size, and duration would depend on the amount of energy available but if you had a system in which it's self propelling and generating more than it's using(such as a car batter and multiple alternator) then that wouldn't be an issue. Also I'd imagine the device would be small because the shield would appear and disappear with the addition and removal of the energy source.

So basically, is it theoretically possible to make a shield or barrier out of energy and if so, are we close or very far from this kind of breakthrough? thanks in advance

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closed as off-topic by jinawee, John Rennie, Kyle Kanos, Waffle's Crazy Peanut, Brandon Enright Dec 27 '13 at 18:21

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see this: youtube.com/watch?v=BqKeiiezqzc ;) –  Marcel Mar 31 at 21:18

3 Answers 3

The Earth's magnetosphere protects the Earth from ions in the solar wind.

However nothing like this is yet practical or useful for person-sized, car-sized or city sized defence against relatively massive objects such as bullets, shells or missiles.

I'm not familiar with electric shields as portrayed in computer games Halo and Borderlands - however I suspect their "physics engines" completely ignore conservation of momentum and other principles. They are fantasy objects more than hard science fiction.

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I think earth's magnetic field only shields from charged particles. –  Jani Kovacs Dec 27 '13 at 12:05

I'm not sure if it counts but you could make plasma and shape it into a bubble shape using magnets. It would then burn up anything that comes into contact with it. However you wound need to devise a way to heat it continually as it wound cool rapidly due to the surrounding air

This is called a plasma window and in it currently limited form it already has some uses.

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The British army invented an electric force field years ago. From memory it turned bullets and RPGs into plasma. A search comes up with heaps of links.


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