A British company, Surrey Nanosystems, has produced a material so black that it absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of visual light. It is a coating made of carbon nanotubes – each 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. Carbon nanotubing was discovered as a material in the 1990s. Since then there has been a race towards the blackest black. Every few years, a deeper black is invented. This new black absorbs all but 0.035% of light. And apparently it is so dark that the human eye cannot understand what it is seeing. Shapes and contours are lost, leaving nothing but an apparent abyss. So for instance, if you were to see someone dressed head to toe in this material it would seem as though the visible parts of the body were floating in space. The material is called Vantablack, and it would seem that military people are already placing orders, because let's face it, in this age where conventional spying seems to be exposed on a daily basis, a material that could essentially render a person or a vehicle virtually unseeable would have benefit. I'm sure it will be a while before this black makes its way into our lives, but it's an interesting reminder that seeing is all about refraction and reflection and when that is removed, we go blind basically.