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Invisible Cloaks, Translucent Walls

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the mithril-is-on-the-list dept.

Science 414

jd writes "The University of Tokyo has developed the illusion of invisibility, under the name of 'Optical Camouflage.' The system is remarkably simple - you have a mix of light-sensitive and light-emitting devices attached to an adapted reflective surface. The devices are hooked to a computer, which simply projects on each side whatever is on the opposite side. The result is more of a translucent look, than real invisibility, but the potential is there. The inventer's next objective is to make walls that are invisible, using the same technology. Project a real outside image onto an interior wall without windows. This almost sounds more frightening than the cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors would have to be placed outside. Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there." Update: 06/15 00:20 GMT by T : You may remember we mentioned this project when it was cloak-only.

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Future of armed infantry (2, Interesting)

cybermint (255744) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425256)

This sounds like it's the future of what our soldiers will be wearing. This combined with the movement enhancement devices could create soldiers who could run as fast as animals and be effectively invisible. No longer is this technology limited to sci-fi movies like "Preditor".

Now if only there was a way to get around the infrared as well.

Re:Future of armed infantry (4, Insightful)

Punchinello (303093) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425298)

I don't think soldiers will be wearing this technology any time soon. It requires an image to be project on the material. Doesn't seem practicle for a soldier running throught the forest. Now if you wanted to hide a stationary vehicle or plane this could be the ticket.

Re:Future of armed infantry (3, Insightful)

CakerX (149266) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425372)

pretty right. ordinary camoflauge is enough for a solider running through the woods. as it is damn near imposibble to track someone in all camo darting through heavy woods. If you are standing still, natural camo is probably better at this point, and gives you more protection if the do find out where you are(ie behind a rock, with bush on you)

Now a tank on the other hand, its gonna be seen regardless how well camo painted it is. This might work nice, along with a good muffler.

Re:Future of armed infantry (1)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425317)

I think the biggest problem with it is that it seems to require an outside projector. It's just a reflective material. Once they integrate the projector into the cloak (maybe via LEDs or somesuch) then it will really start to be useful...

Re:Future of armed infantry (5, Funny)

cybermint (255744) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425362)

I should have read closer... that's not really cool at all. I can't sneak into the women's locker room with that thing.

Re:Future of armed infantry (5, Interesting)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425381)

Well, no, you can't run with this stuff on. You would blur just like the Preditor. Probably worse than blur, as there is a transform equation that is run. You have to potential to flare out into interesting color patterns until it settles into a solid state if you step between two radically different backgrounds. (Red to Blue might accidentally take you through green, or flourescent purple.)

The IR thing is more of a problem. Heck, we already have an excellent visible light stealth system. It's called DARK. All night vision systems track IR since it's generally around in abundence at night.

You are also still a target on Radar, and probably Lidar as the system still reflects or absorbs high amplitude pulses of light differently that the background.

You also run into interesting problems with lighting. If someone shines a spotlight on you, your shadow would still be dark, so you would stand out as a dark spot.

There are undoubtedly computational ways around all that, but after a while your number cruncher is going to be more of an emmission signature than whatever you are hiding.

Re:Future of armed infantry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425402)

Wow, now if there was only a way to get rid of the reflective reflective jacket and the projector.. we might REALLY be onto something!

DUPE! (kinda, sorta) (4, Informative)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425259)

Very cool story. Be even cooler if I hadn't seen it before. Right here. [slashdot.org] And it's a 'merican [optics.org] whose applied for the patent.

The idea of an "invisibility cloak" has made the leap from science fiction books to an international patent application. Ray Alden of North Carolina is attempting to patent a "three dimensional cloaking process and apparatus" for concealing objects and people (WO 02/067196).

anti-dupe methods? (1, Offtopic)

YoungFelon (674090) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425342)

It seems like at least one a week or so I see people noting duplicate articles on slashdot, but I think this is the first time I've actually seen one and said "hey, I've seen that here before." I wonder what guidelines Slashdot editors follow in order to make sure they're not posting dupes? Obviously the process isn't a science, since there are dupes every once in a while, but I'm curious as to how you can make sure. Also, I'm not a subscriber but I understand subscribers are able to view posts at least a few minutes before they hit the main page... Would it be possible to allow subscribers to mark stories as duplicates and (pending editor approval) make sure they don't get published?

Re:DUPE! (kinda, sorta) (3, Informative)

nyteroot (311287) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425431)

Also, the submitter seems a little retarded..


Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube.


Sure: tv fitted in wall, hidden cameras in cubes.

Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425260)

This story is a dupe [slashdot.org] from December 2002, including the link to the University of Japan website about it.

It's still a neat trick, but really old news...

this research is flawed... (4, Funny)

jpellino (202698) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425265)

...i can see right thru their work,,,

Re:this research is flawed... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425291)

their motives are completely transparent.

Window Offices Galore! (5, Insightful)

BlueCup (753410) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425278)

While the potential for having windows viewing into cubes is there, it seems like security cameras already do this.

No, I think the positives for this could far outway the negatives. Just think about how great it would be to have a window view of the outside world, even though you're in the middle of the building... sure, it's something that could be done with a monitor, but this sounds like it would give it a more real effect...

... cost however would probably keep this from changing anything.

Re:Window Offices Galore! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425427)

And what if you happen to live in Akron? Wouldn't it be BETTER to just have a video display of Hawaii scenery than a "transparent" wall to the genuine outside view from your building?

people who live in optical camoflage houses... (5, Funny)

philoticjane (771475) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425284)

the story of the emperor's new clothes is not going to make any sense at all to our children.

GAH! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425399)

the story of the emperor's new clothes is not going to make any sense at all to our children.

What do you mean our children?

Oh no, it finally happened, didn't it? Slashdot males found the one Slashdot female and in order to 'furhter the intelligence gene' they all mixed their saved up semen into some sick cocktail and had her impregnated with it. ISN'T THAT IT YOU SICK FREAKS??

This is one of coolest things I've ever seen (0, Redundant)

kevn (730412) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425285)

what can I say? This is cool as hell. Can you imagine what 10 or 20 years of developement in the "invisibility" field will produce? I have a feeling this is only the tip of the iceberg. kvn

Invisible Education (1)

nan0 (620897) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425293)

i've seen this link pop up a lot over the past 6 mos - same thing i thought, then, i think, now: anyonw with a webcam and a projector has done this before. we shouldn't care about some ghost in the shell fanboy, at tokyo u or not. until it's fiber optic or oled/color e-ink action, big deal.

Chroma Key. (0)

ayeco (301053) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425294)

Realtime chroma key, basically. My 1995 Sony handycam could do this.

Sure, you look real invisible when you have a projector following you around.

Lameitude (1)

Atario (673917) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425495)

Exactly what I was thinking. Also, you only look "invisible" from a specific viewpoint -- and then what's the difference between this and real Chroma Keying, other than that it doesn't work as well?

I submit that this is lame, and hereby call SHENANIGANS!

The evils of technology! (5, Insightful)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425296)

Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there."

This technology opens us up to all sorts of new privacy abuses--oh, wait, no it doesn't. We've had cameras for years. It's the display that's new.

Wow, my last two posts have been bitter. I suppose Slashdot has finally rubbed off on me.

Re:The evils of technology! (4, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425415)

Don't worry. You aren't the only one who is annoyed.

All we need is Admiral Akbar to announce "It's a TRAP!"

I'll be the first.... (1)

bubbha (61990) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425299)

porno....

Re:I'll be the first.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425461)

A friend on my dorm floor projected porn onto the screen in his room window. He took video and it was posted on collegehumor.com Then he got a letter in the mail accusing him of wreckless endangerment and five other charges.

Of course they like to use stealing as abuse.... (1)

demonic-halo (652519) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425300)

example.

But I think the ultimate abuse example would be having sex in public.

=)

Re:Of course they like to use stealing as abuse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425420)

"But I think the ultimate abuse example would be having sex in public."

You must be knew here.

Locker Room (5, Funny)

cybermint (255744) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425301)

Finally I'll be able to get into the women's locker room undetected!

Re:Locker Room (4, Funny)

foidulus (743482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425384)

This device will *have* to be incoporated into Leisure Suit Larry, or a new Porky's movie. Think of the comedic possibilities, until one pulls down their invisible cloak.
Floating genitalia would be very creepy.

Sex invented, Slashdotters have "privacy concerns" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425310)

An activity for two people called sex has been demonstrated by researchers from the University of Phoenix; almost immediately, the ACLU denounced the practice as invasive to privacy. "Somebody can just carry off your DNA, which contains everything about you, and do who knows what with it," stated an unidentified ACLU spokesman. Meanwhile, dork website Slashdot recommended using a version of sex modified for one person.

Having a two-way window in my cube is fine with me (1)

ztwilight (549428) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425313)

As long as I get to wear a mickey-mouse costume to work. "Hey, Mickey Mouse sure works hard!"

No. not really (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425319)

This works great until you get into three dimensions at which point it all goes sour.

Because light's reflecting off of the coat itself. Plus, the shape of the cloak is not symetrical. I just don't see how it even works. Sure, I could imagine something like a sheet of paper partially working.

As for see-thru wall, it's probably a lot easier then this guy wants it to be...

Just make the wall itself clear. Then use an lcd-like mechanism to act as a 'shutter', allowing the outside light in. Note that each 'pixel' could be quite large (several inches).

In other words, when the wall's off, it's opaque. When current's applied to a section, the liquid inside the wall becomes clear and the wall is see-through. Not sure if the technology's there yet, though....

Re:No. not really (1)

luiss (217284) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425393)

From the article...
The key development of the cloak, however, was the development of a new material called retro-reflectum.

"This material allows you to see a three-dimensional image," Professor Tachi said

Re:No. not really (2, Informative)

WarriorPoet42 (762455) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425423)

First, what you speak of already exists. They are called either automatic or active windows. However they wouldn't work to well for walls because LCD exists in two states. Black and transparent. I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of a black wall. A heavily shaded window is okay, but a black wall is horrid!

Re:No. not really (4, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425442)

In other words, when the wall's off, it's opaque. When current's applied to a section, the liquid inside the wall becomes clear and the wall is see-through. Not sure if the technology's there yet, though....

Yeah, it has been around for quite some time, here is just one of many articles on it: Smart Glass [glassonweb.com]

One of my client's has their entire NOC done up with this kind of glass. Just one of the excesses of the dot-com era.

This stuff ain't cheap, but there is even more expensive versions that go black instead of translucent white (and default to clear when there is no current). I desperately want some of that for my car's windows. Alas it is so expensive that the people selling it don't even talk to small fry like I.

Re:No. not really (4, Funny)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425463)

As for see-thru wall, it's probably a lot easier then this guy wants it to be...

I've got one... it's called a *window*

In other words, when the wall's off, it's opaque

Yup, got one of those too... it's called a *window blind*.

Not sure if the technology's there yet, though.... :)

Two vids of it in action... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425321)

http://projects.star.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/projects/MEDI A/xv/images/oc-wired.mpg

http://projects.star.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/projects/ME DI A/xv/images/mirror.mpg

Re:Two vids of it in action... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425348)

Bah...

Link 1 [u-tokyo.ac.jp]
Link 2 [u-tokyo.ac.jp]

I had this idea years ago but... (4, Informative)

damieng (230610) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425326)

quickly discarded it because it would fail as soon as the observer moved or looked at it from a slight angle - the problem being of course the system has no way of knowing where a viewer might be to correctly map the 'camera' to the right 'display cell'.

Re:I had this idea years ago but... (1)

lonesome phreak (142354) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425398)

There was this old sci-fi book that had something similar, but it actually moved the various particles themselves out to the other side, depending on their angle of impact.

Re:I had this idea years ago but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425428)

right, this "tech" has the same problem - but nobody seems to pick up on it. As it shows in the .pdf, the viewer, a projector, the 'invisible coat', and the camera on the other side ALL MUST BE IN A STRAIGHT LINE AT ALL TIMES. He hasn't even attempted the difficult part!

Really the only thing that might be interesting is the retroreflective material.

Re:I had this idea years ago but... (1)

Yobgod Ababua (68687) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425429)

Yeah... they describe that currently you need to look through a particular fixed lens/pinhole that everything is calibrated towards.

It seems that only the reflective material he uses is really something new.

Somewhere on my shelf of old notebooks I have a number of pages involved with trying to figure out ways to make this sort of thing work in 3D. It's quite difficult, even if you limit yourself to flat planes... my best plan involved complicated little lenses over each pixel (which was really an entire array of light emitting or sensing devices) such that the system would naturally display different images depending on the viewing angle.

It was technically feasible, being basically a 2D variation of those little novelty devices that 'change' as you tilt them back and forth, but would be prohibitively expensive to actually manufacture.

My goal back then was to put one each at the end of a hallway (or next to the coffee) in two different buildings thus virtually connecting the buildings in a more natural way than current telecon equipment does (or did).

Re:I had this idea years ago but... (1)

_newwave_ (265061) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425516)

Just thinking aloud here, but couldn't the LED be a polygon with many, many tiny sides with varying degrees of light emitting on each side? /--\
| |
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HOW DOES THIS BASH MICRO$LOTH OR WORSHIP APPLE? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425328)

in other words, WHO CARES?

Line The Interrior Blind-Spots in Cars (4, Interesting)

gdavidp (709900) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425330)

Interesting, this stuff belongs in the internal areas of cars in the so-called blind spots. Probably needs to improve upon the resolution a bit though. Kind of like wearing a digital CCD/CMOS.

Pretty neat technology... (1)

PatHMV (701344) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425333)

Pretty neat technology, but what does a new display technology (which is all this ultimately is) have to do with PHBs invading their employees' privacy? I'm all for paranoia, but maybe you could keep it within the realm of halfway relevant technology innovations? Your privacy is invaded whether PHB watches you on his wall or on his CRT, LCD, or OLED computer monitor or TV set.

Video of your cubicle (1)

eric777 (613330) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425337)

Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube.

Slashdot paranoia strikes again!

What does your imagination have to do with this story? If the PHB has a video camera pointed at you, he doesn't need to turn his wall into a video screen, he can use an existing device called a 'monitor.'

Also, I don't think most of us have too much to worry about - what could be more boring than watching a programmer work?

I know - watching a sysadmin work! :-)

Re:Video of your cubicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425451)

Watching BOFH work might be fun...

The hard bit (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425340)

Lighting up optical elements is the simple bit. Deciding what to show is the hard bit. To do this you need to know where the observer is standing and what they are looking at. If you have two or more observers then how do you decide which image to show?

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425346)

Find a technology, report it to slashdot, and then throw in an Surveillance/NSA/Black Helicopter/1984 type reference for good measure. Great, now we'll have this wanker [slashdot.org] chiming in with pointless, ranting, unsubstantiated crap. Just what we all needed.

Old News (3, Informative)

douthat (568842) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425352)

I remeber reading about this in last year's "Coolest Inventions of 2003" located here [time.com] Further investigation has also found that a guy registered a pantent for the same tech back in 2002 [optics.org] From the article:
The idea hinges on carefully mimicking background lighting conditions to help render an object invisible, similar to how a chameleon blends in with its surroundings. The rear and front surfaces of an object are covered with a material containing an array of photodetectors and light emitters respectively.

The photodetectors on the rear surface are used to record the intensity and color of a source of illumination behind the object. The light emitters on the front surface then generate light beams that exactly mimic the same measured intensity, color and trajectory. The result is that an observer looking at the front of the object appears to see straight through it.
and another 2003 article from Wired [wired.com]

harry potter (4, Funny)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425353)

The key development of the cloak, however, was the development of a new material called retro-reflectum.

Anyone else think "retro-reflectum" sounds like some harry potter spell?

Thats a silly notion (1)

trevorrowe (689310) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425357)

Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there."

There have been video cameras around for much longer that would do just as well, for probably a fraction of the price...

Imagine?!? (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425359)

Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube.


Why spend all that money when you ccould simply eliminate cubical walls altogether?


Oh, I forgot...the "Open Office Plan" has already been invented.

Uh... (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425364)

The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there.

Yes. Thank God somebody else finally realized the awful privacy implications of projectors. Now that I have backup, I'm going to go burn down my local AMC theaters. 30 screens, twenty feet wide! Can you imagine the privacy they've been invading all this time? Well, I'll teach them to spy on me.

Holy FUD (1)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425365)

> This almost sounds more frightening than the
> cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors
> would have to be placed outside. Imagine a world
> where PHBs can turn their office wall into a
> window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology
> is great, but the potential for abuse is
> definitely there."

On the other hand if you get your head out of your FUD, you can think of a lot of cool things to do with this.

Seems to me that it would work better (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425373)

In low light conditions. Of course, all it will take is the first geek to find a relatively quiet and dark corner of the girl's locker room to get this technology effectively banned.

Poster Must Have Thick Tin Foil Hat! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425377)

This almost sounds more frightening than the cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors would have to be placed outside. Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there.


NEWS FLASH! Man has discovered fire! But, imagine a world where other men and women can [GASP!] see what you're doing, even if you're doing it in the dark! Zero privacy! The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there!

NEWS FLASH! The phonograph, which allows you to record and play back sound, is invented! But, imagine a world where people can surreptitiously record what you're saying, without you knowing! Zero privacy! The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there!

NEWS FLASH! Radio is invented, allowing people to broadcast sounds to millions of people over the air! But, imagine a world where people broadcast things 24 hours a day, brainwashing you, telling you how to eat, how to sh*t, how to live! Zero privacy! The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there!

NEWS FLASH! Thank goodness the tin-foil hats don't yet have the powers to stop invention, otherwise we'd still be hunting animals with sticks! But, imagine a world where, uh, sticks can be used to kill people! Zero, uh, privacy! The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there!

Invisible Walls? (1)

Laivincolmo (778355) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425383)

I can see how this might be nice in a house, making it like living in a glass house without the actual windows... But I think I'd rather have real windows that I don't have to worry about running into.

anything new? (1)

saiha (665337) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425389)

It's not really that new, i believe we have seen it on slashdot before. Unless this is somehow new (sorry couldn't get the bbc site to load for me)

What is the point of having the token paranoia tagged onto the end of the submission? For this to work there _has_ to be a sensor on the other side of the wall. How does this guy think this system works if there are only sensors on "inside" part of the wall. Sounds like the submitter just really wanted a front page slashdot.

Halloween costume (1)

Wild Bill TX (787533) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425395)

That would make the most awesome Halloween costume... No need to dress up as a ghost, be one instead. =)

Hrm... (1)

Silvertre (472395) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425400)

The problem with having stuff that projects an image is that you need to be able to project different images depending on the angle you're looking at it from. It might look nice when looking at it at a 90 degree angle, but what about at a 45 degree angle? Is there even technology that exists today that can do that?

Imagine the possibilities... (1)

Frostbeard (758535) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425401)

Invisibility is only the beginning with technology like this. Optical camouflage could just as easily be used to make something insignificant appear fantastic, or the very significant to appear innocuous. Organized crime, the military, just about anyone with an interest in concealment or misdirection would have a huge interest in something like that.

The problem.. (1)

Uplore (706578) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425403)

With this technology is that it is very difficult to get a good refresh rate on the item of clothing to make the background seem to move fluidly.

If the cloak is moving with a low refresh rate, it will take an image of the background with it until the next refresh, making the wearer look silly, stupid amd more than just a bit conspicuous.

potential for abuse.. (1)

sinner0423 (687266) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425404)

Why is it that people concentrate so much on this stuff which really serve absolutely no purpose besides geek-factor?

Has anyone ever considered spending time working on the worlds existing problems before creating others? Or has the whole world gone completely insane? How about feeding the hungry, curing diseases, instead of blowing time & money on invisibility cloaks?

I really see absolutely no real purpose in this technology, and it really goes to show where priorities are in some scientific communities. I'm not some tree hugging hippy, I love tech, but I believe it to be a tool to enable people to better themselves and enrich lives. You'd think with the problems people face today, personal invisiblity and making transparent walls would be the last on ones "to do" list.

optical camo? (1)

NeedleSurfer (768029) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425406)

the garnment isn't even generating any of the camoflage process, it's merely a reflective surface. If you look at the picture you'll notice that it's just a projection trick. I think the enemy would see any soldier equiped with this thing coming for miles, especially since an AV crew came in earlier to set up the projection rig...

Patent Pending (2, Insightful)

geekanarchy (769840) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425407)

See thru walls? Wow, oh wait, thats what windows are...

Then again, Microsoft has the trademark on those.

Potential abuse (1)

butane_bob2003 (632007) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425408)

Someone is always freaking out about potential abuses. If your boss wants to see what you do in private, there is nothing stopping him but the ethics committee at your company. He could already have a camera hidden behind a vent cover, aimed at your little cubicle. This technology has nothing to do with your privacy or paranoia. There are plenty of technologies around that can potentially be abused by people who wish to do you harm. Take the high power rifle for example. I can see much potential for abuse there.

Translucent concrete (1)

Comrade Pikachu (467844) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425411)

This [optics.org] seems even more practical.

Re:Translucent concrete (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425433)

Holy crumb. That is revolutionary. Natural light without having to sacrifice structural stability or privacy. (The glass fiber stronger than the limestone it displaces.)

I just wonder how much it costs.

Been there... (1)

scribblej (195445) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425417)

Of course, this is a repeat of an old story. To help stave off the inevitable "this is useless!" crap, I seem to recall they thought it would be helpful in some kind of medical situations. What those might be, now, I can't imagine... or recall.

Hrm. Guess that was helpful, huh? Expect this to get modded insightful.

Or MORE privacy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425425)

How about putting the sensors only on the outside and the emitters only on the inside? A one way window. Or what about sending the sensor input over to a different display? Look out a "window" on the front of your house and see your backyard or something. Or, most impressively, look at a "mirror" in front of you and see the back of your head!

Amazing movies (1)

bigHairyDog (686475) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425443)

There are some fantastic movies. Don't want to kill their server so I've set up a mirror here [berniecode.com] and the original page is at http://projects.star.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/projects/MEDI A/xv/oc.html.

Bernie :o)

Wrong issue (1)

pyrrhonist (701154) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425455)

a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there.

Only on Slashdot can the poster mention a completely ridiculous privacy abuse issue, while missing the point that an invisibility cloak could be used for theft.

It was even in the article!

Not a big deal... (0)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425458)

That cloak doesn't do anything that a good bottle of scotch wouldn't.

Oh wait... After drinking scotch I only think I'm invisible... Never mind...

New kind of abuse? Don't be silly. (1)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425462)

If you want to visually spy on people, you can just use miniature cameras which are available today. No need for funky walls that copy one side to the other. You can hide these cameras in conventional surroundings.

Heck, we already have devices that allow light to pass through in one direction, but not in the other (or very little).

They are called one-way mirrors!

You could be put into a box made of one-way mirrors pointed toward you, and there is your no-privacy cube.

Man, people and their silly reactions to new stuff.

Projection Technology (1)

I don't want to spen (638810) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425470)

I don't know whether it works with moving pictures or not, but it seems to me that the projection system is the best part of this. Fancy a shirt that can change colours? Shop mannequins that take a picture of your face and show you wearing their clothes? Advertising on the back of your coat?

Well actually, no I don't, but I'm sure this type of technology can be used in novel ways that might be good. A red hat that runs a Linux display maybe?

I cannot see what is actually so cool about it (1)

haakoneide (788114) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425472)

Well, yeah it's cool now, but how cool is it when everyone here can afford it? If everyone has it, it really becomes more of an annoyance. Or on the other hand, if these things gets perfected and becomes really expensive. They will turn into todays bullet proof vests. A nightmare for law-enforcement. And one idea, why not make the clothes rigid, for better invisibility. If they are rigid (e.g. sylinders for arms), the possible angles becomes fewer. Oh well.

WHAT "Abuse?" (1)

Caraig (186934) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425481)

Like PHBs need material like this to look in peoples' cubes. Cameras would be SO much better for that anyway, I bet.

I don't see potential for privacy abuse here. I see possible potential for abuse by criminals using this gear, though I doubt cops will really be hindred by a guy wearing a 'cloaking anorak.' or such. I can definitely see the government geting antsy about this tech simply because they would. But outside of that, this isn't going to let a random pickpocket lift off the wallets of everyone in a city, or a terrorist to get to some foundationstone in a building or even through a city street.

Welcome to /. where technology is either 'So cool!' or 'OMGWTFBBQ this is so open to abuse!!!!11!one!'

Inspired by literature... (1)

MasterDirk (659057) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425492)

This sound to me to be most usefull when you want to disappear against a wall or something, as you'd never pull the invisibiliy-trick off if there are multiple angles you're being viewed from.

It's more like a Tolkienesque Elvish Cloak than an invisibility-garment.

Bah, wake me up when someone comes up with an Douglas Adamsesque SEP-field.

Prior art (1)

kko (472548) | more than 9 years ago | (#9425507)

Ghost in the Shell: Thermoptic camo.

Just kidding. How do they come up with this stuff?
Are they going to start building fuchikomas (tachikomas?) next?

Damn cheaters (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425512)

First they wallhack to see through them so no one can hide. Next they'll shoot through them, and put in aimbots for a headshot every time.

Cloaking devices (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9425515)

Wait, we developed cloaking technology already? But that doesn't make any sense....

Cap'n Archer's Enterprise doesn't have a cloaking device and thats 150 odd years into the future! Pfft. I hate it when TV lies to me.

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