back to article Forget the invisibility cloak: Boffins invent INVISIBILITY FISHNETS

Boffins have developed the thinnest invisibility fabric ever made, just 0.15mm thick, great for carrying around Harry Potter-style. Harry Potter in his invisibility cloak Unfortunately the miracle "fishnet" copper-polycarbonate textile doesn't work in the visible spectrum. The device scores points for its slim silhouette …


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  1. Thecowking

    Can they tailor this to other wave lengths?

    For example, oh I don't know, damaging solar radation such as might be experienced by space craft?

    Because that would be really quite useful.

    1. Blergh

      Re: Can they tailor this to other wave lengths?

      Talking of spacecraft it sounds more like a Romulan cloaking device than a Harry Potter style cloak?

      Although now I think about it they could turn them on and off and this would probably be more permanent. However it would still also interfere with any incoming Transporter teleportation.

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: Can they tailor this to other wave lengths?

      Not a bloody lot of good, as solar radiation of concern is some gamma radiation, x-rays, beta particles and protons.

      For the first two, very little is scattered by something with such a low density. For the latter, they're nuclear particles and wouldn't be effected at all.

      1. Thecowking

        Re: Can they tailor this to other wave lengths?

        Beta and protons are stopped by hulls on spacecraft, that's not a (pressingly major) issue. Gamma and X-ray are the ones I'm thinking of and I was wondering if they could apply the same principle to say, oh I don't know, a layer of material of the right shape grown on the surface of the hull providing a small, light, effective means of shielding.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Invisiblity fishnets

    When I first read this I thought "Great, something to hide my ex wife's hideous legs"

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: Invisiblity fishnets

      "I can't feel my legs!"

      "What legs?"

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Invisiblity fishnets

      I thought: "Great! Now I can catch invisible fish".

      (Yes, I know that I could just install an empty tank and tell everyone that I had invisible fish, but that seems cheesy.)

    3. Martin Budden

      Re: Invisiblity fishnets

      I only skim-read the article, so I think it's something about Harry Potter (who only has a small rod) wearing fishnets. Presumably fan-fiction and Rule 34.

    4. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: Invisiblity fishnets

      In a similar vein, until I read the article, I thought another outbreak of anorexic "models" was going to be inflicted on us with legware to suit.

  3. Pen-y-gors Silver badge


    So we'll be able to safely put a cloaked poodle in the microwave now?

  4. Jon Green

    I can't wait...

    ..for the first "anti-radiation" mobile phone case based on this technology. It might actually work, this time...unlike the poor signal-deprived phone....

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: I can't wait...

      the signal is electro-magnetic radiation.

      Seems to me, if the phone was signal deprived, it was working pretty damned well!

  5. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Only hides an object from microwaves

    Sounds like an ideal replacement for ye olde tinfoil hat.

    1. Mister_C
      Black Helicopters


      Nah. extra coating, like the scrimnet on a squaddy's helmet. Coz you can't be tooo careful can you?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just the thing

    for hiding my 18cm oddly shaped rod

  7. frank ly Silver badge

    I was puzzled (normal state) ...

    .. as to how this could work to cloak a target from a microwave detector/imager. Then I followed the link to the paper, where it states that they used a dielectric rod as the 'target'. I have a feeling that it wouldn't work with a metal rod.

  8. Alister Silver badge

    So, ideal for sneaking past microwave intruder alarms, then, excellent.

    Yes, coat, the funny looking fishnet one.

    1. Rob Carriere

      You better know exactly at what frequency those alarms operate. A quick scan of the paper says that if the actual frequency is off by 10% from the design frequency of the cloak, the cloak's pretty much useless.

  9. brainwrong

    Oddly shaped objects

    My car is oddly shaped*, can I cover it with this stuff to sneak past speed cameras??

    * Why don't they put corners on cars nowdays? They're all just blobs, not a single straight edge by which to judge parking. And they have distorting wing mirrors to make you cross-eyed just as you want to change lanes on the motorway, it's bonkers!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Oddly shaped objects

      * Why don't they put corners on cars nowdays? They're all just blobs, not a single straight edge by which to judge parking. And they have distorting wing mirrors to make you cross-eyed just as you want to change lanes on the motorway, it's bonkers!

      Streamlining. It goes to aerodynamics. You will notice many airplanes (commercial and military) try to limit the number of sharp corners on their bodies as they affect airflow and thus fuel efficiency.

  10. John G Imrie Silver badge

    Does this meen ...

    If I covered a metal fork with this stuff it wouldn't spark in the microwave?

  11. HMB

    Surely Not Invisible

    If it's preventing scatter from the object then it wouldn't be invisible, but sheer black (or your wavelength equivalent of no energy). The idea being that you can't see energy reflected from it, but then neither can energy pass through it from whatever may be behind it. Only diverting technologies can achieve that from what I understand to be possible at the moment (which of course is limited).

    I think the word invisible may be being thrown around too liberally here.

    Anyone else's thoughts here?

    1. foxyshadis

      Re: Surely Not Invisible

      Still invisible to RADAR, just because radar doesn't check for the absence of anything, only the presence, so they're a simpler target.

      1. Colin Miller

        Re: Surely Not Invisible ... to mesh radar

        Fordward scatter radar can detect when an object passes close to the line-of-sight between an Tx and Rx;

        it is a proposed method of detecting low-flying stealth aircraft.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          Re: Surely Not Invisible ... to mesh radar

          Isn't that what trees and telephone poles are for?

        2. Adze

          Re: Surely Not Invisible ... to mesh radar

          If it's Fordward wuoldn't that be Model Tx, the Type Rx being invented much later by subsidiary Mazda?

      2. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Surely Not Invisible

        Multistatic radar can defeat that kind of stealth because it works by detecting changes in the ambient radio noise. To fool such a system, you need a cloak-type device that actually diverts the radio waves without altering their course; otherwise, a sensitive enough radio receiver will detect the alteration. And the "fishnet" noted in the article will stick out like a sore thumb--current stealth technology already relies on scattering. To the receiver, both would look like a dead zone.

  12. Nigel 11

    "A small rod"

    "oddly shaped objects"


  13. APatriot1

    I hate Boffins

    The word Boffin is so silly. Somehow this local UK slang slips through to American Internet news outlets and instantly prompts mass WTF proclamations Please, lose this term and just write "researcher" or "scientist:. We Americans look to England to uphold some standards of the language.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: I hate Boffins

      "Please, lose this term"

      No. It's a term of endearment. Of course, if this ridiculous UK publishing regulator ever emerges in its proposed form, no doubt you can pester us to death with complaints about :-(


    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: I hate Boffins

      Meanwhile one barmaid throws another faggot on the fire while another brings you faggots, peas and chips with an Ale. Or Cider.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I hate Boffins

        Oh yea? Well someone tell this cigarette to shut up! We kicked your ass in World War II!

        1. TeeCee Gold badge

          Re: I hate Boffins

          Er, as we were on the same side that would be "friendly fire" and not usually something to crow about.

          What's the problem? So few actual victories that you have to celebrate the cockups too?

          1. Gerhard den Hollander

            Re: I hate Boffins

            He might have been talking about that Cricket match near the chinese border , though I think that was pre-Pearl Harbour .....

        2. taxman

          Re: I hate Boffins

          Funny, that when we refer to a VC it's something to be proud of. Yet you'd probably like to forget about your VCs

    3. Peter Murphy

      "When UK slang prompts mass WTF proclamations"

      I'd say it's the fault of the WTFer, not the WTFtee. What's wrong with extending one's vocabulary?

  14. JassMan Silver badge

    I can't imagine it will do much for aerodynamics

    Putting a giant fishnet on the outside of your super sleek stealth bomber may make it radar invisible but would absolutely ruin your coefficient of drag.

    Still I don't suppose it will dissolve in the rain like that magic radar absorbing paint.

  15. Lghost

    Emma Watson in fishnets

    Mmmmmmmm :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    so when it is applied to the visible wavelength then I would see a big black blob instead of the usual background?

    Okay in Spacem it might work if someone is not watching for the stars.

  17. Brian 3

    I for one...

    ..welcome our new invisible replicator overlords!

  18. madick

    Visible Light Application

    If I understood the bit about "scaling" correctly (probably not), I think this implies that the "fishnet" technique will hide objects in the visible spectrum but only if they are so small that you wouldn't be able to see them anyway?

  19. cortland

    Did you just

    Drive down this street? Because we didn't get a speed reading on your car.

    Let's see your license!

    Cue the police jokes.

    From the article. this appears (heh) practical applied with conductive paint on vehicles to renders them indetectible by speed radar and triggers for red-light cameras. Onward to Ångströms!

    Mike, didn't there used to be a doughnut shop here? ...

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