I've got an invisible carpet in one room at present. Visitors find it hard to believe it isn't bare floorboards.
Remorseless German boffins have developed a simulator which can show how so-called "invisibility carpets" fashioned of metamaterials (in fact more likely to appear in the form of invisible sheds, according to top boffins) would actually appear to the human eye. According to the simulation, the invisible sheds would produce …
So, in a simulated museum, with clearly delineated edges, and bright colours, the technique fails. Big surprise.
Now try the same exercise with a shed in the middle of the countryside, with a gradation of different surfaces and colours.
After all, if you put a camouflaged tank in the museum, you would probably spot it pretty quickly.
especially the invisible shed.
While not completely invisible (ie, you can still see the distortions) you cant see /what/ the object itself is.
Thinking from a military point of view (which is where this will no doubt go first) what at first glance is some sort of heat haze visual distortion, is acualy a SAM site or a shed mounted machine gun etc...
That if you put something under a real carpet or (for that matter) in a real shed, you can't see the thing. The point (if there is one) at which this device is useful is when not only is the thing you're hiding invisible, but the cloak/carpet/shed it's in is invisible also. And that means that it has to look like something else that really is there, because a big shiny old quasi-metallic ripply surface is what people in the concealment business would call A DEAD FUCKING GIVEAWAY.
That's not to say this research is a bad idea. Research of all kinds has always got applications noone could have thought of a-priori. Just don't think it's likely to end up with a star-trek stylee personal cloaking thingummybobber that's all.
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