back to article Secret of invisibility unravelled by US researchers

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 …

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  1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Stop

    Duh

    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.

  2. Jon Tocker
    Coat

    Of course...

    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...

  3. Tim
    Boffin

    No such material occurs naturally

    How do you know just because you haven't seen them does not mean they are not there.

  4. Dale Morgan

    im confused

    how do they make the stuff visible to construct it into something? the article gives the impression that the material bends light around it, so its invivislbe from the start, no way of making it visible.

  5. Mycho Silver badge

    America, sure.

    Given the name of the prof there is no way any other nation could get their hands on this tech.

  6. Pete Silver badge

    Been done before

    This was first done many years ago. unfortunately the scientist who invented it, put the prototype down somewhere and now can't find it.

  7. Dominic Kua
    Thumb Up

    How convenient...

    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?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In that picture, that tank looks suspicously like ...

    ... a tree.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eyes

    Assuming you were cloaked head to toe in invisibility material could you see or would there need to be eye holes and wouldn't that give you away.

  10. The Aussie Paradox
    Coat

    FAKE!

    That picture is a fake! I can see where the troops have been photoshopped out!

    /Mines the invisible one.

  11. Joe
    Thumb Up

    WOOHOO!

    Metal Gear Paintball!!

    Also, does this mean paint and dyes will be a restricted weapon on the battlefield?

  12. Adam Foxton
    Boffin

    Love the photo

    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...

  13. Emo
    Joke

    Hmm

    Can't see any foot prints or tracks, photo must be a fake!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but

    Does it work if you throw paint on it?

  15. Steve
    Happy

    April 1st 2009 already?

    You cannae bend the laws of physics, Captain!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who turned out the lights?

    The problem with invisibility suits, you have to leave your eyeballs exposed, or else you're blind due to the lack of visible light getting in.

  17. Michael Cox
    Coat

    "No such material occurs naturally..."

    ... or at least not that we've seen yet.

    Mine's the one on the empty coat peg with the faintly detectable shimmer

  18. Eric Olson

    One question, though...

    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?

  19. Geoff Mackenzie
    Joke

    This must be a joke

    I can see them in the picture. They were also on my bus the other day.

  20. Fozzy
    Joke

    <title needed>

    Wouldn't poking the eyes out of the observer achieve the same results?

  21. Frank Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    re. Nonsense

    "Of course, that last bit's complete nonsense."

    Ahhhh, but is it?

  22. Andy Worth

    I am invisible!!

    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."

  23. Paul
    Paris Hilton

    Shape and relative motion

    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.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Didn't we see this story last year?

    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.

  25. Mike Hocker
    Boffin

    Who Needs Glass

    when you have metamaterials at optical wavelengths. Just flow the outside scenery through an itty bitty hole in the wall, and keep the high thermal resistance wall in between.

    Be able to save great gobs of energy that way, none of this Luddite thermally leaky glass rubbish.

  26. Bruce
    Coat

    I have one of those cloaking devices

    But I can't find it.

    Mine's the one on the 'empty looking' hanger, I think...

  27. Mike
    Boffin

    How Not To Be Seen?

    That tree in the photo is a rather obvious hiding place. If that's the secret to invisibility, they had better improve...

  28. Mark Roome
    Coat

    I am sure

    David Copperfield did something clever like this a few years ago, making a number of things invisible?

    Can't they just clone him and shove him into whatever it is they want to make invisible?

  29. Simon
    Boffin

    IIRC from earlier efforts

    0) You can't see out of it.

    1) It'll be more of an Invisibility Container

    As understand it, a perfect example of such a container (for you couldn't really wear or drive it) would be undetectable in (a portion of) the EM spectrum at whatever velocity it was moving.

  30. alec horley

    News Flash - 2007

    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 ..."

  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Tom Silver badge

    Acoustical version please

    so we dont get this hysterical braying every time one of their nation does something complicated like chewing gum and walking at the same time.

  33. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Boffin

    How about refraction?

    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.

  34. Adrian

    Do as they always do in the movies

    Chuck talc powder over the battle field and look for the footprints/tracks

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Scalability?

    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.

  36. Robin A. Flood

    My disappearing socks

    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.

  37. John Sanders
    Alien

    Fantastic!

    Can I use it at the office to avoid detection by stupid managers?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    ...but isn't current research in this area limited to very small objects (ie, several molecules in size)?

    Seems too good to be true if it can do big stuff.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    i can see waldo

    Also my house from here

  40. Steven Raith
    Stop

    FAO Berkely/DARPA

    At least I assume Darpa would have had a hand in this, what with their freaky-tech background.

    Message begins:

    Video evidence or STFU

    Message ends.

    Steven R

  41. Alex Gollner

    Most handy for blind soldiers...

    ...as no light can enter the 'cloak' to those rendered invisible. The blind will be the best invisible assassins (unless they're played by Ben Affleck in the movie).

    (Paris, because she's already got an invisible coat)

  42. Uwe Dippel

    Maybe hidden behind the tree?

    Finally, the Pythons once again laid the groundwork

  43. Charles Manning

    It exists!

    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.

  44. Steven Knox Silver badge
    Boffin

    BBoT?

    A few questions:

    If you bend all the light around you, how do you see where you're going?

    Does painting the object pink first help?

    How closely does the material resemble a towel?

  45. Steve Sherlock

    Pondering...

    "No such material occurs naturally and it's only very recently that molecular engineering has advanced sufficiently to give scientists the opportunity to create them."

    How can they be so sure? Surely if it did exist naturally, they couldn't see it?

  46. Tom Silver badge

    This will backfire...

    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?

  47. Sam

    Python again

    "How to recognize different types of tree

    from quite a long way away...number one, the Larch. The Larch."

    (I know it isn't a larch, but someone's already done how not to be seen.)

  48. Mike Crawshaw
    Alien

    @ Robin A. Flood "My Disappearing Socks"

    "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...

  49. Glyph
    Boffin

    invisibility is nice but...

    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?

  50. Steen Hive
    Dead Vulture

    Useful

    Maybe they'll give some to the Brits - give them a sporting chance of not getting shot in the back.

  51. David Henderson
    Coat

    think about it

    It may well be a fledgling technology and not be much use (at least for the next decade) on anything large and/or moving... but if applied to something that is hard to detect already, (snipers anyone?), we could be not-looking at something very useful.

    Mine's the one that looks like a ghillie suit

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on though...

    So you have a big lumpy object like a tank. the light hits it at a particular point and angle and this material is so clever that the light zooms around the outside of the tank and emerges from the diametrically oposite point heading in exactly the same direction? And it can do that for all the light hitting the tank from all directions? Without any confusion or loss whatsoever?

    Pull the other one.

  53. Dr. Mouse Silver badge
    Coat

    Here you can see...

    ... a jet in all it's glory. Now, turn around... turn around... you, you need to turn around.

    *Audience turns to face the opposite way*

    *Roaring noise similar to, say, a jet taking off*

    Behold! I have made the jet invisble!

    </south park reference>

  54. Mad as a Bat

    Just look for the tracks...

    Easy to spot your invisible enemy - just look for the mysteriously appearing tracks in the grass/sand or the wake on water etc.. Just think Michael Bentine's Potty Time!

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    The beginning of a beautiful friendship

    The Reg linking to wikipedia? The world has just come to and end...

  56. xad001x0w
    Coat

    Tank in the picture.

    Clear example of a Mirage Tank from the command and conquer series. Nuff said.

  57. William Morton

    The reasons why invisibility cloaks are useless

    Any civilisation that can create an invisibility cloak can always find other ways to detect the stealthed object. If they block the visible spectrum then they will be seen with IR if the also block IR they will cook themselves in their own waste heat. Invisibility cloaking has always been a red herring, as soon as you can create one you can also create a way of by passing it much cheaper.

  58. Billy Gannon

    In the heat of battle...

    Surely all the other side needs to do is have some thermal imaging goggles?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @Charles Manning:

    Superconductors do not necessarily HAVE to only work at really low temperatures, they were meaning room temperature ones. Admittedly it's taken 20 years to get them anywhere near close to working as superconductors at room temperature but thats actually what they said it would take...

  60. Jamie Kephalas
    Stop

    uhm, quite a few flaws.

    Granted, you MAY make the tank invisible, but that will only work when it's sat still. Have you ever seen a tank barreling across desert at 50mph? Are they planning on making the dust it kicks up invisible? There's so many things wrong with this, I give up.

  61. James
    Boffin

    Can Anyone say...

    ...IEPC's?

    Improvised Explosive Paint Cans?

  62. Yorkshirepudding
    Go

    Qapla

    Pffft cloaked birds of prey! all you need is a tachyon detection grid, and some reconfigured torpedoes

    the things gotta have a tail pipe?

  63. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Boffin

    See and be seen.

    Come on. I don't think that they have said that it is invisible in all directions. If you could make it so light from *behind* gets bent around to the front but light from in front gets absorbed totally (i.e. no reflections) and you should be able to see in front, and not be seen from the front. Of course this would not be full invisibillity (a la thermoptic camoflage to all of us GITS fans).

    Anyway, if you bent 75% of the light, and prevented the reflection of the other 25% (by absorbing it, which could be in your eyes), you probably would be able to see well enough, and would be fairly well hidden (there would still be a 'dull' spot). The problem would be liniarity, making sure that the diverted light rays followed the same path they would if they were not diverted. And even then, there would probably be a detectable phase shift of the light due to the longer path!

    Full invisibillity is still Sci-Fi, and will be for some time.

  64. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @ Robin A. Flood

    Your disappearing socks are down to a different physical phenomenon. It's not widely known but all washing machines are fitted with a small, portable wormhole that can accommodate a single sock (or a hamster). Socks that fall into the wormhole are mysteriously teleported across the known universe to the back of wardrobes where they metamorphose into the most stable form of all matter - a coathanger.

    There's a Nobel Prize in it for the person who can find out why red socks NEVER go through the wormhole but instead remain hidden, right up until the moment you put a white shirt in the machine. Spookily this happens - even if you don't own any red socks.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    There it is. . . .

    The meta material bends light around it through a certain spectrum, in this case instead of microwaves visible light. To see it you wouldn't need anything that special, just goggles that allow you to see light in a higher spectrum such as UV. Same would be said for those cloaked with said material.

  66. Abbro56
    Joke

    Easier way...

    Simply erect an S.E.P. field.

  67. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    We've already got one

    To continue the Python-esque theme of soldiers hiding behind trees, if the researchers ask I will tell them we've already got one. I think mine might be a paint that confers this property to my keys/wallet/USB memory stick/whatever else I'm looking for. The effects are not permanent but do seem to be directly related to how much I want to see the object in question.

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    well actually

    I have already developed a invisible army and have just taken over the world!

    what you don't believe me?

    damn another unforeseen problem with this new technology.....

    Wouldn't it be a bit of a problem for soldiers if no one could see them, I mean in order to have a battle you actually have to see the other person otherwise it would be a bit well icky.

    I wouldn't like to meet the person who can shoot at someone without knowing if they are attacking them or running away in terror.

    Still anything that makes it easier to imposing your will on others has got to be a good thing for democracy.

  69. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Jamie Kephalas

    "There's so many things wrong with this, I give up."

    Don't think "invisible" as in "Hollywood invisible", think "a lot harder to spot that usual", i.e. very good camouflage.

    There is some lovely footage on YouTube of al alternate take of this: a guy in a highly reflective suit stands in front of a video projector linked to a camera held behind him. He's not "invisible" but he is a lot harder to see! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFGo6kCmf38

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is great news for us stalkers.

    Can't wait to buy one myself.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what the picture clearly shows...

    is that the russians are coming..

    <---- that's the coat!

  72. William Morton

    @ Abbro56 or get someone else to do it

    Douglas Adams, I loved his writings and his lifestyle

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Motorbike?

    So, where do we get this stuff for motorbikes? :)

  74. adnim Silver badge

    Kill the sound.

    As mentioned sound could be used to pin point invisible objects. Now once the sound of any object can be muted as well as that object being rendered invisible, there is a real potential to this technology which more than justifies any outlay in R&D costs.

    It could be applied to girl/boy bands and celebrities.

  75. Stevie Silver badge

    Structural Makeup of the Underlying Metaphor

    Okay. I read the description of the whichness of the why this works (not the structure of the material it's made up of, the combination of the structure it is made up of???) and still don't see the difference between Invisibillium and Bakelite.

    I am working now on the assumption that Douglas Adams wrote the system spec and the research team didn't get the joke.

  76. Norfolk Enchants Paris

    I have found a good use for this

    Assuming it can be switched on and off, I'll have me numberplates made of the stuff please.

  77. weirdcult
    Thumb Up

    Here is a picture!!

    Took a while , but i have found a photograph showing a cloaked tank. Ok so it's not absolutely invisible but you will have to agree the have done a very good job. The tank is in the very centre of the photo. You can just see the outline.

    http://sherrychandler.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/pink_tank.jpg

  78. C
    Paris Hilton

    Can anyone say ...

    Friendly Fire ... I knew you could.

    Seriously the friendly troops will be a lot harder to spot ... "why didn't my bullet nail the enemy, and why is there blood spurting out of thin air halfway between me and enemy mine?!"

    yah, yah I know never heard a solder wax poetic .. that's the other secret tech! Its just about as useful too!

    PH cuz it'd be better to have her parading around distracting the troops in a two piece.

  79. The Other Steve
    Flame

    @Chatles Manning

    "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."

    Not if you have a rabid and well funded military industrial complex willing to chuck resources at them like there's no tomorrow (as indeed, from their POV there may not be).

    q.v RADAR, computers, fission weapons, &c from WWII and resultant mess.

    Black chopper (fnar), for the obvious reasons :)

  80. Mark

    You Stole MP's Copyright!!!!

    that is OBVIOUSLY a derivative of Monty Python's "How To Hide" instructional video.

    Please cease and desist before our Lawyers come along (the Big Stomping Foot).

  81. Mark

    re "My Disappearing Socks"

    Hah! That's NOTHING! I've lost a sock once ***hand washing them***!

    Kids today! Need fancy machines to do EVERYHTING...

  82. Vincent
    Joke

    Invisibility glasses

    BUT I HAVE MY INVISIBILITY SEEING GLASSES ON!

  83. wayne

    Invisible troops photo.

    Nice, photo, but I can't see the squashed grass, you didn't say they had invented anti-gravity as well.

    But have you guys forgotten that Japanese inventor, that invented a cloak to bend light around him, not that effective, but nice.

  84. StopthePropaganda
    Flame

    A simpler and more efficient technique

    Instead of going through all this trouble to make tanks invisible, why don't we simply block the sight of the enemy?

    I suggest issuing to all enemy troops, a version of Douglas Adams' Peril Sensitive Sunglasses. That way, when you want to attack them, they'll go black and have the same effect as "invisibility".

    Of course you need a cooperative enemy. Any Western force, like the US or Britain, will be happy to unilaterally give up sight advantage and tactical superiority in order to be "good neighbors". this way p*ssant countries can then show how "teh awesum" they are by sneaking up to castrated and practically toothless Western forces. See Chinese-ordered propaganda to shut down active sonar, and Middle Eastern-ordered propaganda to eliminate robotic combat systems...programs that give Western militaries a distinct advantage over ancient tactics of treating your armies as swarms of expendable kamikazes.

    Mine's the one with the Berkeley and Obama patches all over it, reeking of patchouli. The PSS's make it easy to see things from their point of view.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How not to be seen...

    I can't see it replacing the standard miltary invisibilty technique of finding something to hide behind.

    Anyway, if it didn't bend all light frequencies equally then you'd get a rainbow coloured halo around your "invisible" tank. Like pinning a big target on it...

  86. peter
    Go

    Visible wavelength

    Spy Drones can remain silent, still, and drop their heat radiation to background levels. If they were to glide or scuttle in at night (very slowly), refuelling on local power lines or perhaps focusing sunlight, they could sit for months sending back bursts of data alongside other comms traffic to drones circling in random patterns overhead.

    Humans couldn't see them with thermal acousitc or visible wavelengths.Eventually, by using GPS correction and working amongst themselves they can provide targets to airborne drones to take out along with corrections and success rates. Afterwhich they are collected and dropped far enough away from the next target to crawl towards it.

  87. Gareth

    Philidelphia Experiment etc

    Part of the article on USS Eldridge mentions the Varo annotations to a book (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Experiment#The_Office_of_Naval_Research_and_the_Varo_annotation) by Morris Jessup.

    Looking at the PDF of this annotated book, the notes within remind me of a well known frequenter of el reg - anyone else bored enough to follow through and see if they notice something similar?

  88. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see the troops!

    I had to jump around a bit, duck under the desk and pop back up, and wave my hands in front of my face, but eventually I caught sight of the troops out of the corner of my eye.

    Seems they're dressed in pink and wearing a small battery pack smaller than a flashlight.

  89. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Hmmm...

    Surely the material would only be invisible if it doesn't absorb or reflect *any* of the light passing through it. Is this stuff *that* good?

  90. daniel
    Coat

    News Flash

    The US military has invested in suits to make their troops seemingly disappear. Now that they have got the so called invisibility cloaks it would appear that the Russians have just brought 80 million paintball markers!

    the above is fiction.

  91. Chris
    Coat

    The Emperor's new tank

    Invisibility is the perfect research topic. When the government comes along and asks what happened to all that grant money they've been giving you, you tell them you've perfectected an nvisibility cloak. "What, you can't see it? There's the proof!"

    After that, you "sell" invisible tanks to the Emperor (uh, I mean Army) who then parade them in public...

    I'm already wearing a coat. No really,...

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    My thoughts...

    Look, it's quite simple,

    As you can see, that was a really funny comment, but I used the html font coloUr tag, for the invisible paint. Can you see my comment? There, it works!

    Bon

  93. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Unfortunately

    It only makes your clothes invisible.

    "I've never felt so free!!!"

  94. Sureo
    Black Helicopters

    I make things disappear all the time.

    They do often spontaneously reappear, usually inside the vacuum cleaner.

    Waiting for that big military research grant...

  95. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    When the US army get these...

    Scenario: The US army bomb* the shite out of the whole world (including themselves) just to be sure there are no invisible men (aka enemy 'combatants') in their area.

    Else, how can you really be sure there's no threat to homeland/off-land security?

    * As others have already said, perhaps it'd be a better idea (for humanity's and other life's survival etc) to just throw huge buckets of white paint (perhaps from space) all over place to detect invisible miscreants instead?

    AC cos I'm not visible and therefore not really *here*.

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    I'll believe it...

    ...when I see it.

  97. J
    Joke

    How not to be seen?

    Easy: don't be there to begin with.

  98. Mark Scott
    Coat

    So...

    the end of development of the invisibility cloak is in sight.

    Sorry.

  99. Homard
    Paris Hilton

    The Advantage Of Not Being Seen - Monty Python style...

    The good ol' uncle sam army have just learnt the first lesson of not being seen. However they have not learnt the second lesson as they have chosen a rather obvious place to hide ....

    @ Michael H.F. Wilkinson : so you're saying that these invisibility devices will work like lenses ? Could be hazardous advancing through that tinder dry forest at high noon on a blazing hot day !

    Actually, it's quite apt that invisibility is being discussed on an IT news site. As anyone in this or any form of system support profession knows, if you're doing your job properly and things are running perfectly smoothly as a result, you are invisible to management and have no value whatsoever. This is where the repressed BOFH in us all comes from !

    @GWB : are you so bloody stupid that you think you're invisible while you oggle the womens volleyball team ? Those defence contractors have had billions from you for the 'technology', just like the ray guns business did with Ronald Reagan ! Perhaps the invisibility suit is made of wool, to be pulled over the eyes in times of need ? Anyone with any sense in your position would have turned the Hubble telescope back to earth for this job. Then you really would have been looking at a close up picture of a dead heat between the Hindenburg and the R101 !

    Here in the UK we pay something called taxes. Our government must have invested heavily in this invisibility technology because it seems there is little to be shown for the billions poured in. I think I'm going to the patent office tomorrorow to patent this technology, and then sue the buggers for patent infringement. Since they won't be able to produce any assets for the billions squandered, they *MUST* have used the patented technology. Should be on a winner - I'm sure it will all hold up in court, etc.

    Can we have a brown, I mean turd icon please ?

    Paris because sooner or later all those invisible knickers will show like cobwebs from the ceiling ! And the fact that there isn't a brown (turd) icon.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Sound?

    If you can't see them, You should be able to hear them. What use is a tank that doesn't move? you might as well build a bunker and cover in it turves (turfs?). A lot cheaper i think.

    Paris because the spell chequer turned turves to curves.

  101. Goat Jam
    Coat

    . . . and the Russians just used a pencil

    Wouldn't it be easier to hide behind an LCD panel and stick a webcam up your arse?

  102. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge
    Stop

    Not invisible...

    You can quite clearly not see all the troops hiding behind the Oak tree there...

  103. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    @Goat Jam

    pervert,

    actually I think your on to something as the viewers brain would switch off as a self defense mechanism to avoid seeing what is displayed on the LCD panel.

  104. ryan
    Boffin

    oversight?

    Surely if you bent light around yourself like 'water flowing around a stone in a river' no light would be reaching your eyes and you'd be effectively blind?

  105. Goat Jam
    Thumb Up

    @ AC pervert

    I was thinking of pointing the webcam behind you, but I think you may be on to something . . . . .

  106. Misha Gale

    Just upgraded camouflage

    Sounds like the main military application for this (assuming even that it does provide 100% invisibility in the visible spectrum) is as an upgrade to standard camo - something that makes you hard to see, provided the enemy isn't actively searching for you. Besides looking, there are (as pointed out already) far too many ways of detecting an invisible soldier: body heat, noise, radar/sonar, covering the ground with sand and looking for footprints, chucking paint/flour everywhere, using dogs/smellbots to pick up scent etc etc etc.

    Even so, it still beats green and black facepaint.

  107. mike lee
    Unhappy

    Tolets seats at work are already made of this.

    As if the flush button.

    Or at least that is the only explanation I can come up with. That or everyone I work with are dirty bastards.

  108. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    already been done...

    ...with the homeless and the secret government budget.

    Yawn.

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