Get ready to witness some James Bond-esque, HALO-style active camouflage action. Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas have cleverly tapped the unique characteristics of carbon nanotubes and the light-bending weirdness of the mirage effect to create a kind of invisibility cloak that can be turned on and off at the flip of a switch.
Though not quite ready to be integrated into an Aston Martin (it works best underwater actually), it is a pretty neat trick, and it could someday have a range of applications outside the lab. The cloaking capability is rooted in the mirage effect, the same phenomenon that occurs when temperatures vary greatly over a short distance. That variation in temperature causes light rays to bend toward the viewer's eye rather than bounce off of objects normally.
That's why people tend to see false pools of water in the desert. They are actually seeing the sky on the desert floor--light from the sky bends as it nears the heated ground and heads directly toward the viewer, therefore appearing as a sheen of blue coming from the ground. From there, the brain does the rest, seeing water rather than sky because that makes a lot more sense.
The same effect is happening in the video below. Using highly conductive carbon nanotubes--one-atom-thick layers of carbon wrapped into cylinders--pressed into a transparent sheet, the device you see is able to quickly heat the fluid around it (in this case, water), causing the mirage effect to conceal the object on the other side. And it does so nearly instantaneously.
Yeah. That's cool.
.... i want....
Just checking, is this a fabric made of carbon nano tubes becoming "invisible," or is it an object behind that, and where can I buy this?
Also is the only reason it works better in water because the water isn't moving away from the heat source as much as air would be?
If the later is true could you use this same device in a room that was completely sealed so there was no air flow?
Also way back when I was in middle school I did a project on carbon nano tubes, and back then they couldn't be strung more than roughly 2 inches without breaking, clearly this has changed but does anyone know how long they can be now?
"The person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew, the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago everybody knew, the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago you knew we were alone in this universe. Imagine what you know, tomorrow."
-- Tommy Lee Jones as Agent K, Men In Black, 1997
I just watched the video a little closer, please ignore my previous stupidity, of course its hiding stuff behind it..
I would still like to know about the nano tubes however.
Its that invisibilitity stuff! before ya know, them terrorists are gonna get it and take over the world! bee ware everybody,take shelter while yo still have life under yur skin!
Does this invisibility only work at one single angle of view\perspective? Should I move a little to the side, is the effect gone? In water usually I am floating about and the thing I am looking at is floating about, would this still work? Still it seem to work very well in the video, a lab environment.
At the top of the demonstration I see heat waves; the same type of heat waves I have seen in videos of underwater volcano vents. So yes at one angle things disappear, but above is a give away to something hiding below. Then the heat rising would be coming from a straight line horizontally, giving way to it being a manmade object.
Still its a good demo of some kind of underwater cloaking development.
I think another analogy would be what you see on a hot summer day at a distance driving down a long stretch of a road: at a distance you can see a what appears to be a pool of water or a metal sheet. But as you get closer you start seeing the actual road.
Like Blue pointed out, this seems to work only at one angle. But, maybe the angle depends on how far away you are from the object and how much the change in temperature is. In effect, you would need to track the distance to the observer, and then change the temperature/nano tubes accordingly to "hide" the object.
this must be why we cant find atlantis!
Now my "Ghost in the Shell" Halloween costume will soon be realized
So they make things invisible to visible light, but then its highly visible under thermal imaging considering it uses heat to produce the effect.
The people of the world only divide into two kinds, One sort with brains who hold no religion, The other with religion and no brain.
- Abu-al-Ala al-Marri
Yesss!! Stargate: Atlantis reference!
Ok, Ok, I am a good buy swimming with my scuba gear on in the water. The bad guys see me coming and turn on their clocking device. I am guessing, but would I feel that electrical current charge in the water, just curious?