Ouch, Harry Potter. Your new movie doesn't premiere for two months, yet real scientists are already one-upping you
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Cornell University both said last week they've designed invisibility cloaks that work in the visible-light spectrum. OK, so they're not big enough to cover a budding young wizard sneaking around at night, but hey, it's a step.
Two teams, led by Michal Lipson at Cornell University and Xiang Zhang at the University of California Berkeley, said their nano-scale invisibility cloaks allow light to flow around a hidden object as water flows around a rock. The cloaks contain a mirrored edge with a bulge that appears as though it's flat.
The feat solves an age-old problem faced by children huddling under blankets: You'd still see the cloak, but now you would have no idea what lies beneath.
Previous work on invisibility cloaks, including at Duke and UC Berkeley, only worked for light that human eyes can't see, like radio and microwaves. But new research shows silicon nanoparticles, as opposed to aluminum or other meta-materials, can work at shorter wavelengths -- even in visible light.
"Our optical cloak not only suggests that true invisibility materials are within reach, it also represents a major step toward transformation optics, opening the door to manipulating light at will," said Xiang Zhang, director of UC Berkeley's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the U.S. Army provided some of the funding.
The cloaks reflect and bend light in a way that fools the observer into perceiving a flat surface. The cloaks' nanometer-size silicon materials are spaced apart at varying densities, so light flows around the bulge without distorting the view. A person looking head-on at the bulge would see only a flat plane mirror.
The main problem is scale -- both cloaks are wee things that might obscure little more than the eye of a needle. The Cornell cloak works for light that's just barely visible to humans; the Berkeley cloak only works for wavelengths barely outside what humans can see.
Zhang said it was easy to make and should be easy to scale up into visible light, however.
"Our next goal is to realize a cloak for all three dimensions, extending the transformation optics into potential applications," he said. Applications like sneaking around where one is not allowed, perhaps?
I am so ready for cloaking technology. If we can get this technology and keep it for ourselves, the military applications are almost endless. Entire military units unseen advancing toward a target. Snipers, though already unseen, hundreds of yards away, have another layer making them invisible to the naked eye.
And its none of that video game crap, that when you take a shot you are visible for a quarter of a second. You take a shot and you are still invisible.
But also just think of the civilian applications. A car windshield made out of high strength metal polymers. Completely invisible thanks to this technology, MILLIONS of lives saved because nobody goes through windshields any more. Hell if hitting metal seems to painful, put shock absorbing padding on it and cloak the padding.
The sad truth, however with this technology, is that one day it WILL fall into the hands of criminals. Burglars, rapists, murderers. But hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles.
I just cant see it somehow
it must be a pain for wonder woman to always have to look for that invisible jet...
also, skilberto, ouch, that pun hurts so much!
anyways it's about freaking time.
Is there a rule amongst journalists that they have to reference Harry Potter whenever this technology is discussed.
I feel i have a need to comment on this subject. Of all people, i myself would love to have an invisibility cloak for sneeking around in unwanted areas, pulling a little recon for somebody, and getting those upclose pics u wouldnt normally get. I'm not saying now, but think of the consequences this technology would hold against us... Even with the many possibilities that invisibility opens up for us, what are the likely chances that this technology will be weaponized? Even the article believes that this program is military funded. Now as humans accelerate technological developments, can we believe that we can keep something that is used for slipping past enforcement and unauthorized zones to be monitored and kept in check? Ok? So what if we are using invisibility against our aggressors, but i can tell you that it's not going to stop there, it will just as likely be used domestically too. Law enforcement, to criminals, to wide all-seeing media organizations, and then terrorists. The only thing i fear, and i'm sure everyone else agrees, is the unknown. And whats more unknown than something you can't see with your own eyes. Ya i know there's thermal imaging and other optical spectrum's to view something invisible but then what's the point of developing something when there will be other ways to view what you're trying to hide? Is it not redundant?
Civilization may have the means to develop these technologies, but it doesn't mean we have to. Engineers and researchers take moral and ethics courses so that they don't go blowing up the earth with vast scientific discovery's. I could just be rambling on but i'm trying to convey a totally bias gut feeling on the development of invisible devices/technologies
thank you for reading
This is a great discovery only problem, when one person has invisibility, everyone will want it. I mean really, who wouldn't want to sneek around unnoticed. Only one problem, heat cameras... Looks like there needs to be some insulation in the final edition! Oh and scubasdsteve87, the problem with military use, is that the enemy may use them too. Also, knowing the military, who knows who would get this.
You block heat cameras with extra large tinfoil hats.
Oh yeah, those will be easy to hide!
Ah, been researching the data on this. Think of the endless possibilities! For example, Senator Kennedy's objection to wind generator farms off the island, you make them invisible you make folks like him happy and get clean energy... LOL... then again, don't even want to go into potential dangers of such Tek!!! Might give some of the bad guys ideas!
Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter collaborated on a novel titled The Light of Other Days, dealing with consequences of a technology that allows everyone to be able to see one another anytime, anywhere, even through walls and observing your every private, intimate, and hidden moments. This new cloaking technology may be the start of that kind of world. If your to have that kind of technology it should be available to everyone so if you don't want to be seen, everyone should have that option.
Just four words, folks: Don't hold your breath.
Some years back a group of scientists anounced findings which would lead, invariably, to a gravitational control (or anti-gravity) system. Well? Anyone heard anything about gravity deck plates on the ISS, or a true zero-G training facility on terra firma? No? That's right, NO. It will be many years, if ever, before any real advancements are made in this arena. Oh, and by the way, thermal imaging is in the infra-red realm of the EM spectrum and would likewise be blocked by the self same tech.
It's nice to fantasize about cloaking tech., but let's be realistic about it. Jules Verne imagined nuclear powered warships a century before they became a reality. Man, himself dreamed of basic flight millenia before the first balloon lifted off and it was another century after that before the Wright brothers got off the ground in a heavier-than-air vehicle. It was another fifty years before we advanced far enough to attempt basic space flight and it's been fifty more years since then and we still have yet to attempt to put a human on any other planet or moon (other than our own, and how long has it been since the last manned mission there?) even within our own star system.
No, no, folks, it's all well and good to play in the neighborhood of make believe, but, even with the amazing advancements we've have made to date, a practical cloaking device is still some time in the far off future. Possibly in the time of our great-great grandchildren.
Still, it is a really cool idea, isn't it?
Ought to be a great boon to window peepers. I hope it's cheap enough, though.
I love it when the seemingly impossible is tackled by the scientific community. I thought we were living at the best time of all; just wait till they perfect this baby. I don't see it happening in my lifetime but whenever it occurs it will be way too cool.
A car windshield made out of high strength metal polymers. MILLIONS of lives saved because nobody goes through windshields any more?
You can't be serious?
Have you seen an accident where someone literally goes through a windshield?
They often leave their legs under the dash in rout not to mention the massive internal damage caused by hitting the steering wheel and dash!
Going through windshields?
And if it were so.........
THERE IS A BETTER INVENTION OUT THERE THAT PREVENTS WINDSHIELD EXITING DURING AN ACCIDENT, IT'S CALLED A SEAT BELT!
If an accident it so bad that the seat belts fail, then that someone goes through the airbag, it fails and they then go out the windshield, it is irrelevant as to weather the windshield is glass or 1/4” thick steel plate, they are dead either way!
Also the government had a habit of preventing “inconvenient” technology from being applied.
An “invisibility cloak” would be inconvenient!
And here is one for example.
There were 80 mpg Diesel Hybrid vehicles produced by GM, Chrysler and Ford back in 1996!
Go to the “www electrifyingtimes.com/” web site and you can see their cover page from Fall 1996.
Where are they now?
Somehow having powerful oil men the Bushes in the white house had something to do with it.
If it gets to the wrong hands, it's the end of the world?
This is a fatastic idea.
Excellent news... Time to go spying :)
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Great technology, but what can people use it for?
Seems too advanced to be true?....
This technology could be modified to work for infrared and visible light too, making it able to hide 3D objects from human eyes. The way the device steers microwaves could also give a boost to wireless communications – improving signals indoors or underground, for example.
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Ouch, Harry Potter! :))
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For a far more advanced approach, consider investing in a cloak made from metamaterials, tiny structures smaller than the wavelength of light. If properly constructed, such a cloak would actually guide rays of visible light around an object -- much like a rock diverting water in a stream. For now, however, the technology only works in two dimensions and only comes in the ultra-petite size of 10 micrometers across.
It's nice to fantasist about cloaking tech., but let's be realistic about it. Jules Verne imagined nuclear powered warships a century for before they became a reality.
Man, himself dreamed of basic flight Millet before the first balloon lifted off and it was another century after that before the Wright brothers got off the ground in a heavier-than-air vehicle. It was and another fifty years before we advanced far enough to attempt basic space flight answer it's been fifty more years since the then and we still have yet to attempt to put a human on any other planet or monsoon (other than our own, and how long has of it beside since the last manned mission there?) even within and our own star system.
It was another fifty years before we advanced far enough to attempt basic space flight and it's been fifty more years since then and we still have yet to attempt to put a human on any other planet or moon (other than our own, and how long has it been since the last manned mission there?) even within our own star system.