back to article Chinese boffins crack cloaking tech for camouflage

Chinese boffins have invented new cloaking technology which distorts light in a way that could be used to disguise soldiers, or even aircraft, during combat. Transformation optics scientists have made great leaps in recent years towards bending light in such a way as to make objects invisible, however, thus far they’ve been …

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        1. Chris 244
          Coat

          Dave 126 / three small bushes

          Better first ask Mr E.V. Lambert of Homeleigh, The Burrows, Oswestry about how well that worked out for him.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Dave 126 / three small bushes

            >... Mr E.V. Lambert of Homeleigh, The Burrows, Oswestry ["has presented us with a poser:"]

            [Bang!]

            [Bang!]

            [Bang! Arrgh!]

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Um, yeah, but...

        If it bleeds, we can kill it.

  1. harmjschoonhoven
    FAIL

    Re: Bend light here and hey presto, your aircraft becomes a bird

    The research paper mentioned describes calculations for a model working at a single microwave frequency ("wavelength 30mm at the frequency of 10 GHz."). No physical experiments were involved.

    Jie Sun et al., "Large-scale nanophotonic phased array" http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v493/n7431/full shows a more interesting innovation from MIT in Cambridge Mass. working at optical wavelengths.

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Bend light here and hey presto, your aircraft becomes a bird

      From the linked article: If we imagine a real-world example, this cloak could turn an aircraft — which has a very recognizable radar signal — into a small, indeterminate object, flanked by a couple of birds.

      Those would be some very fast birds flying just like real birds don't. Still, this has the very real potential of making hitting the target much more difficult.

      1. SkippyBing Silver badge

        Re: Bend light here and hey presto, your aircraft becomes a bird

        Handily most radars won't pick up the return from a bird sized object until it's far too close to be any use, which for some reason is never explained when these comparisons are made.

        It's up there with saying the radar on the Type 45 destroyer can detect a cricket ball travelling at Mach 3, of course it can, but how close does the cricket ball* have to be?

        *or more likely missile with the radar return of a cricket ball

  2. BorkedAgain
    Thumb Up

    Two birds?

    They wouldn't be two swallows, by any chance? Carrying a coconut between them?

    1. F111F
      Holmes

      Re: Two birds?

      Depends on whether they're African or European...

      1. Red Bren

        Re: Two birds?

        But African swallows are non-migratory...

  3. iMess
    Thumb Up

    Scattering using wave-dynamics, you say? Now create a tech that can transport this scattered object to another place. Hey presto! Transporter tech. You won't need cloaking if you can just transport the 'off' button out.

  4. taxman

    No Unicorns but

    any chance of these concentric rings of SRRs chinking when they move?

    1. ShadowedOne
      FAIL

      Re: No Unicorns but

      Seriously? All you can come up with is a thinly veiled racial slur?

  5. MR J

    Wow, I really didnt see this one happening......

  6. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Coat

    50+ posts ..

    and no one has mentioned the best way to make something invisible ...

    Cloak it in someone elses problem

    (credit to Douglas Adams)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: 50+ posts ..

      He does need his own icon.

      The other solution is to get your enemies to wear sunglasses that turn opaque at the first time of danger.

  7. SirDigalot

    this is china

    therefore if the peoples government says that it is invisible or pink or anything else, then it must be true, and if it is not true then you must be a traitor or heretic and need reeducation.

    Either that or they are publishing this to see how gullible the rest of the world are.

  8. veti Silver badge

    History teaches us...

    The Battle of the Coral Sea (May 1942) went down in history as the first naval battle in which ships from the two sides never actually saw each other. I imagine some future land engagement will be "the battle in which soldiers from both sides completely failed to detect each others' presence in any way whatsoever".

    Should make for a good 'Call of Duty' game...

  9. dssf

    Microwave towers...

    Did not Saddam Hussein's people use cell phone towers to detect low-level stealth or other aircraft passing through valleys and in other areas?

    I don't know what it would take to look down and mesh images with up-looking and beam-side-looking sensors, but, eventually this will lead to detecting so-called invisible aircraft.

    As for flak, mentioned earlier, make acoustic or sonic flak. Maybe drones or missiles can vector out to an anomaly, then humans assessing the purported object could decide to lob acoustic explosives out toward the perimeter of the object to screw with the sonics. Or, just lob explosive dye markers of the radioactive kind, like radioactive, flourescent dye to make them trackable. Once they realize they've been found, but not actually killed, they'll probably bug out/bugger off.

    Maybe there is an electronic version just the same, except once waves come back all out of sort, then sensing antenna could try to bathe the anomaly in increasingly hotter waves or beams if it is close enough to the antennal. Otherwise, it could cooperatively slave other radars to it to set up fire control freqs and prompt the anomaly to go hot and expose itself. Won't expose everything out there, but could give pause to the researchers.

  10. Tank boy
    Alert

    This is shocking.

    I thought they were using smog to camouflage their troops. Oh dear.

  11. Mike Brown

    Its pretty easy to beat this system

    shoot the middle one!

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