Like flying cars and jetpacks, force fields are one of those futuristic science-fiction inventions that, to most, seem a bit too high-tech ever to exist in real life.
The folks over at aircraft manufacturing company Boeing, however, believe anything is possible.
And they may just be right: Borrowing concepts from sci-fi stories like "Star Wars," the company recently patented a device that uses energy to deflect damage.
In short, it invented a usable force field.
While we normally imagine force fields as bubbles encompassing a large area, Boeing's invention (ungracefully named the Method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc) is designed to protect a single target from shockwave damage.
The design consists of a sensor that, upon detection of potentially destructive shockwaves, stimulates the response of an arc generator, which forms an ionized plasma field around a specified region.
This energy field differs from the outside environment in either temperature, density or composition -- or a combination of the three -- to act as a "shield" of sorts between the environment and the object (or objects) under protection.
Unfortunately, it's not quite perfected yet: The force field would be difficult to hold in place for any extended period of time and would also likely block out light -- leaving anyone inside its walls essentially blind.
But still, the fact that an actual force field may soon exist is a sure sign we're in the damn future.
Does this mean flying cars are on the table, too?