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Scientists Closer To Invisibility Cloak 308

Posted by timothy
from the excellent-for-parties dept.
Aviran was one of many readers to submit news of a just-announced development in the ongoing quest to develop a working invisibility cloak, writing: "Scientists say they are a step closer to developing materials that could render people and objects invisible. Researchers have demonstrated for the first time they were able to cloak three-dimensional objects using artificially engineered materials that redirect light around the objects. Previously, they only have been able to cloak very thin two-dimensional objects" Reader bensafrickingenius adds a link to coverage at the Times Online, and notes that "the world's two leading scientific journals, Science and Nature, are expected to report the results this week." Tjeerd adds a link to a Reuters' story carried by Scientific American.
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Scientists Closer To Invisibility Cloak

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  • War Application (Score:4, Interesting)

    by s31523 (926314) on Monday August 11, 2008 @09:54AM (#24555005)
    An obvious use will be from a military aspect. I wonder about how this technology will be received by various insurgents in our numerous war campaigns. Imagine a small troop deployment vanishing and reappearing in front of a goat-herder turned freedom fighter. I don't know if he would cut-n-run or stand fast to fight the "demons"...
  • by dellcom (1213558) on Monday August 11, 2008 @09:56AM (#24555029)
    "His cloak is perfect... no tachyon emissions, no residual antiprotons." on a serious note, would this not be vulnerable to infra-red cameras?
  • by daveatneowindotnet (1309197) on Monday August 11, 2008 @10:10AM (#24555181)
    Considering TFA says they are bending light to achieve this, I don't see why infrared light would not be effected the same a visual light. What I find to be really interesting is what this could allow us to do with non-visual light (microwaves, radio, etc.)
  • by dellcom (1213558) on Monday August 11, 2008 @10:16AM (#24555263)
    If the material is 'bending the light' around the object then the IR would be bent with it, however if the object the material is covering is generating heat, then the cloak material would absorb that heat and emit it as IR radiation. From what the article says I do not see how it can cloak that.
  • Re:MIT (Score:2, Interesting)

    by T3Tech (1306739) <tj AT t3technet DOT com> on Monday August 11, 2008 @10:22AM (#24555333) Homepage
    I seem to recall seeing something as well. Though I've long figured that in certain applications the use of fiber optics could do a pretty good job of making something at least really, really hard to see that it was there.
  • Re:War Application (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Swizec (978239) on Monday August 11, 2008 @10:25AM (#24555367) Homepage
    Depending on what wavelengths of light it works on you could still see out with IR goggles or some other fancy gizmo like perhaps radar.
  • by KenRH (265139) on Monday August 11, 2008 @10:25AM (#24555375)

    would this not be vulnerable to infra-red cameras?

    First we need to rembeer that light, infra-red, ultra violet and radar (among others) are just different wavelengths of electromagnetic waves. So the prisiple is the same but one "cloack" technology may be effective for some wavelengts but not others.

    I'm just going to call it all emw for now.

    To be invisible one need to take care of four things.

    1. Not reflecting any emw from any emw-source to the sensor/observer.
    2. Not to emit any emw to the sensor/observer
    3. Not create a shadow in the emw emitded by the backgroud against the sensor/observer
    4. Not create a shadow in the emw emitded towards a surface in a way changing the emw the surface reflects/emits towards the sensor/observer

    So to ansver your question to be efective against infra-red cameras the technology must be effective guiding emw around in the infrared spectrum and one must somehow hide ones own infrared signature

  • Re:War Application (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Redfeather (1033680) on Monday August 11, 2008 @10:59AM (#24555873) Homepage
    Funny, I went to architecture as well - but non-military. Imagine an architect's delight when he can suddenly make completely invisible all kinds of inaccessible, support-bearing structures. Floating houses, anyone? Shore up the leaning tower permanently?
  • I know everyone is making with the jokes,but I for one really don't like the idea of this. Yet again,we have scientists seeing if they CAN do something,rather than if they SHOULD do something. As aggressive as the US has been lately,does anyone really want gunships,fighter jets,and whole squads of special forces rendered invisible? Not to mention what a powerful weapon for "regime change" this would be. No country would be able to protect their leaders when you could set up a sniper a couple of blocks away from them without ever being seen. All around,with such a huge potential for abuse and no positive applications that I can see,it just sounds like a giant bad idea. But as always this is my 02c,YMMV
  • word? Blackwater. I have NO problems with the soldiers of the US military,I have many friends that have fought in Iraq. What I have a problem with is the fact that the government seems to be in love with mercs,who WILL end up with this technology. The men and women I know who have served believe in words like honor and justice. A merc will happily shoot an entire family for a paycheck. To see what kind of guys they are simply read here []. And now it looks like they are being used on US soil [] which means it ain't just Iraqis that have to worry.

    And the simple fact of the matter is the Army Rangers don't need this stuff.They already ARE invisible. believe me,I know. I had a buddy who was a Ranger get me a visitor pass to watch some exercises in the '80s,and he and his buddies decided to play "spook the hippie". needless to say,I was the hippie. We were walking to the range when suddenly the ground moved and I'm surrounded by Rangers. Hell,I wasn't a foot from them and I never knew they were there. And just as quickly they blended back into their surroundings and were gone. What worries me about this stuff is it in the hands of mercs like Blackwater. Would we have ever had King's "I have a dream" speech if this kind of tech was in the hands of mercs then?

    What worries me is the genie getting out of the bottle. Like an earlier poster said,what if you wrap a chemical or biological bomb in this stuff? Do you think your average police force is going to have the tech to detect this stuff? But as always this is my 02c,YMMV. And as far as you accusing me of Karma whoring,mine has been at excellent for years and I couldn't honestly care less. Anyone who has read my past posts knows I simply speak what is on my mind. And this tech looks like it is going to bring a world of bad and little if any good. Maybe we'll get lucky and it won't be horribly abused. But I'm not betting on it.

  • Science (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Monday August 11, 2008 @05:39PM (#24560723) Homepage Journal

    Raw science should not be bound by vague concepts of potential unethical use of discoveries.

    If we followed that idea we would ( at best ) still be sitting in a dark cold gloomy cave. Wondering if we get to eat tonight, or be eaten instead.

No hardware designer should be allowed to produce any piece of hardware until three software guys have signed off for it. -- Andy Tanenbaum