So if they manage to bend light equally at all frequencies exactly the right amount (Yeah, right) they will then have a teensy weensy problem. Not only will nobody be able to see them, but they, themselves will be in total darkness.
Scientists at the University of California in Berkeley have engineered a material that can bend visible light around objects. This development could soon result in technology that can render tanks, ships and troops invisible to the eye. Results of the US military-funded research are expected to appear in the scientific …
The stealthed troops are easy to not see in the pic but did anyone else notice the Hobbit wearing Sauron's ring, Harry Potter in his cloak, the Predator and the invisible man are also not visible in the pic - not to mention the Klingon Bird of Prey you cannot see hovering over the field.
Once again, El Reg surpasses all othe media outlets with this ground-breaking photo...
IGMC - it's the one hanging on the apparently empty peg...
Just as G.W. is seen hanging around the women's beach volleyball area, a sudden breakthrough in invisibility occurs.
Military's probably had this for 10 years, he is CiC after all, putting tax dollars to a purpose at least half the electorate would approve of is surely a first?
I wonder if there'd be a blur as you moved or if it'd be absolutely transparent?
Also, does it work both close-up and further away (as the convergence / divergence of the images both eyes see changes)
Does it work all the way around the object, or could it be defeated by the tactic known as "stepping to the left and looking for a suspicious vertical line"?
Can it work with really intense light, or will it be defeated by a half decent laser diode?
Does it work with all visible spectrum light, or can it just make you invisible if all the surrounding light is of a certain wavelength?
Just a few questions, but they seem like the sort of things an "invisibility" system would fall down on...
If the light is being bent around you, how the heck are you supposed to see where you're going? I suppose if you had electronic means to view with, like radar, sonar, etc, that were not bent, but then you could still be detected by mundane means, and where is the high tech advancement in that?
As once said in Mystery Men.....
"Shoveler: So, let me get this straight. You do have the ability to become invisible?
Invisible Boy: Yes.
Shoveler: But you can't give us a demonstration?
Invisible Boy: No. I can only become invisible when no-one's watching.
Shoveler: So, you're only invisible to yourself?
Invisible Boy: Oh, no. If I look at myself, I become visible again.
Furious: So...you can only become invisible when absolutely nobody is watching you?
Invisible Boy: Yes."
Would the object doing the cloaking have to be spherical?
Would there be a focal length inside which its distortion would be noticeable, like the eddies behind a rock in a stream which makes the presence of the rock known for a short distance downstream?
Also a moving (and extremely fast) camera would be able to spot them as the light would be slowed up by having to travel a: further and b: through a material so distant objects would blur. Admittedly it would be an almost unbelievably fast (optical processing, not movement) camera, but we are talking about invisibility shields here.
Paris as her knickers are already made of this meta-material.
I'm sure we did.
Now, as then, my comment is that even if you make the tanks, trucks and squaddies invisible, how are you going to make the exhausts, tracks, bent foliage and noise go away? And while squillions are spent on this technology, better weapons and light-weight body armour might be just as effective and much, much cheaper.
Of course, if you apply it to Black Helicopters (TM), you just might have something.
Stand by for the upcoming news flash when this gets developed:
"4 killed in tank accident.
4 British soldiers were lost today as a tank ran them over. The squad, from the amoured 3rd infantry, 'the invisibles', got run over by their support tank during a routine invisible armour training excercise ..."
I'm all with Adam Foxton. I really wonder if it is possible to coat an object in something which warps light PERFECTLY around it so as to become invisble. Given the difficulties in getting perfection in ordinary optics (even apochromatic lenses are just corrected for three wavelenghts, not all) I very much doubt we could make stuff which perfectly blends you into the background, in all wavelengths, from all angles.
I would bet there would eb some refraction effects which make the wearer similar to some sort of lens which would certainly distort the scene behind it to some extent. You might be well camouflaged, but not invisible.
Are the boffins doing this research actually saying that these meta materials can in theory be used on large scale objects like tanks and people? Or are they hinting that, and just riding the wave of cash flowing from the military top brass, who seem more and more to be influenced by childhood sci-fi? I'm not a physicist, but my gut instinct is that someone is being economical with the truth. The analogy with light and a flowing fluid is flawed. I'd guess at the very best this system would when working results in some kind of adaptive camouflage. I don't think its going to allow me stand unnoticed in Paris' bathroom.
What they're not telling us is that this stuff has existed for many years and so have flying cars. They paint flying cars with this stuff which is why we never see them!
I remember 20 years ago people making similar predictions about superconductors. Before Y2K we were going to have superconductor power lines so that the power lines would be lossless (ummm except for the huge amount of energy needed to keep them cold).
So the whitecoats manage to make a small item disappear in a well controlled environment and we have "soon there will be invisible soldiers and battleships".
Even very viable technologies take a long time to get to fruition so I can't see (pun if you wish) invisibility happening any time soon.
The US seem to be quite happy to attack their allies vehicles even if they are properly marked!
But can you imagine the carnage when they try and fire at the enemy through their own invisible troops.
And another thing - how would you find them after you got out for a slash?
"Every washing machine ever made already has this feature. Put two socks in, run a cycle - short or long, doesn't matter - look inside tub and only one sock is visible."
Doesn't work that way here. I put in one pair of socks, I get out 2 socks - each from completely different pairs. I blame the extra-dimensional portal in the back of my washer, but take solace in knowing that a version of myself in another dimension is having the same trouble...
PS Invisibility is easy. Every time my boss comes towards me carrying a piece of paper, I disappear from sight immediately...
I'll take all the other stuff a superlens can do, and his group is working on those as well. I find it odd they announced in this manner, unless I misunderstand the discovery, this is a material with a negative refraction index in the visible wavelengths. This same technology is what they are planning on using to boost optical media sizes through the roof, and drop lithography die sizes down to the silicon limit. It trumps the diffraction limit or so I've read.
@Charles Manning: yes it took them 20 yrs but Canada and NY both now have superconducting power lines yes?
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