Twin brothers create 'invisibility jackets' in case of apocalypse

Steve Tidball, of Vollebak, tells ITV News producer Barnaby Papadopulos about the vision behind the company he co-founded with twin brother, Nick.

British twin brothers have designed a collection of invisibility coats and jackets that protect the wearer from burning hot lava - in case of an apocalypse.

"If you'd asked me when I was a kid, when was the last flash-flood, or when was the last fire sweeping through where you lived - there weren't any," Steve Tidball told ITV News.

"Now you'd go 'it was probably a couple of months ago, about a hundred miles down the road.'"

That sense of urgency is the driving force behind the company Mr Tidball has co-founded with his twin brother, Nick.

The jacket's graphene panels can emit different levels of thermal radiation. Credit: Vollebak

Vollebak specialises in clothes designed for the most extreme of elements: the apocalypse jacket will set a buyer back £995, but promises protection from 'black lava, flash fires, and chemical erosion.'

A hoodie promising to 'cope with fire, rain, and temperatures four times hotter than the sun' comes in at £395.

And just in case, Vollebak have also recently announced the creation of a prototype invisibility jacket.

"Twenty-five years ago, in Harry Potter, we were offered an invisibility cloak," explained Tidball. "And it's 52 years if you look at Star Trek."

"Now we have a clothing brand working on really crazy ideas, we thought we should tackle one ourselves."

Steve Tidball explains the science behind the jacket

There's a slight catch: the prototype jacket doesn't literally render the wearer invisible to the human eye - but it can make them invisible to infrared cameras, in what the brothers believe is a step in the right direction.

Working with the University of Manchester, the pair created a jacket that uses sheets of computer programmed graphene, each emitting a different level of thermal radiation so as to make the wearer of the jacket appear colder - or invisible - to the camera.

But it won't be available to buy for some time yet.

The jacket only exists in prototype form - for now. Credit: Vollebak

Steve says Vollebak's products are currently being marketed to people "who are similarly interested in the future, who have disposable income, and who can invest in bits of technology they really like."

The products' marketing addresses the extreme weather conditions becoming increasingly commonplace as climate change takes effect.

'The ultra lightweight technical shirt built for a planet that’s heating up,' reads the write up on one shirt. 'As global temperatures rise and climate zones shift, designing clothing for the equator is like designing for our future.'

But should tech entrepreneurs be channeling efforts into protecting us from the problems brought on by climate change, or work toward trying to solve the problem?

"You have to work on how to prevent it," Steve told ITV News.

"But you also have to work on how to react when it does happen."

"We're not suggesting for a minute you shouldn't try and solve these challenges, but given they're coming quite quickly, you know there are going to be more floods in the UK this year than there were last year, and the next year again there's going to be more and more."

"Designing flood proof or fire proof clothing just does seem to make sense - because this doesn't look like something we're going to reverse next week."