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Invisible Unmanned Aircraft

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the what's-that-noise? dept.

241

MattSparkes writes, "A Minnesota company, VeraTech, has applied for a patent on an unmanned drone that is nearly invisible to the naked eye. The Phantom Sentinel takes advantage of the phenomenon where fast moving objects appear as only a blur, so it fades out of view once it speeds up. This is achieved by rotating the entire craft. The center of gravity is in open air between two of the blade-like wings. There are some videos of a prototype in action on the VeraTech site." The company says you could get usable video of the terrain by processing the images from a spinning camera. One version of the drone is small enough to launch by throwing it like a boomerang. And it folds for travel.

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241 comments

Videos? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282185)

And what exactly would we not see there?

Re:Videos? (4, Funny)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282537)

At this point in time I'd say it's the videos themselves.

A quick and 100% off-topic rant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282541)

What the hell is up with the irritating garish flash ads for moronic content and its associated spyware showing up on slashdot? The fact that they annoy us notwithstanding, are the marketers really that stupid that they believe one single member of this site's audience, of all the sites they could choose to advertise on, is dumb enough to click one of their ads?

There's a reason that /.'s advertising is acceptable to a relatively hostile geek audience, and these banners are simply taking the piss.

Re:A quick and 100% off-topic rant (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282691)

There's a reason that /.'s advertising is acceptable to a relatively hostile geek audience

And that reason is called "adblock".

Well it always depends on the source (1)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282713)

Here, any sinful behavior from Google, for example, it's always in good fun.

Firefox with adblock, flashblock and I think no-script is a must to surf the web without always talking to parasites like google-analytics.

Re:Videos? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282551)

Don't worry, all the videos are in the "asp.asx" format that my computer neither recognizes nor plays. Maybe we can defeat the terrorists by giving them all Macs ;)

Re:Videos? (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283143)

For some reason they refuse to work on my computer as well, and I'm running XP. I even tried with iexplore and no luck. Maybe it requires Linux? :P

Obligitory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282683)

The other day up in the air
I saw a plane that wasn't there
It wasn't there again today
Oh how I wish it would go away

It's a bird-of-prey (1)

BamZyth (940235) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283211)

They finally figured out how the cloaking device works on the Romulan ship they hide in area 51.

Re:Videos? (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283537)

The video is an mpeg file pointed to by an asx file, talk about stupid. They're tring to make their video invisible too.

Headed for YOUR neighborhood! (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282193)

To protect us all from members of the House!

Seriously - there's enough info here to craft your own.

Re:Headed for YOUR neighborhood! (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282977)

That's kinda the point of patents.

Invisible spinning boomerang planes (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282233)

'Catch!'

'Ouch'

Re:Invisible spinning boomerang planes (4, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282353)

have you seen the photo in TFA? ...

Private Jones: So what's the boomerang doing now? What can you see?

Private Smith: Its heading straight toward some dumb looking shmuck wearing those gay VR goggles.... hey what the..?!!

Re:Invisible spinning boomerang planes (2, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282763)

Allright, who's the wiseguy that gave Nerf a defense contract?

Invisible (2, Insightful)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282235)

Is that really invisible? It looked like they just changed the focus of the camera. Plus, I really wouldn't want to be the pilot. Holy bed spins. Er, just kidding, but it really didn't look too invisible.

No it isn't invisible (2, Interesting)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282325)

but it is close.... Yet another misleading /. subject header.

The basic idea is that the plane flies by rotating and, just as a fan blade or propeller becomes close to invisible when spinning, this aircraft might too.

Of course visibility to the naked eye is only a very small part of invisibility. This thing probably sticks out like dogs balls on radar.

Re:No it isn't invisible (2, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282603)

>> "This thing probably sticks out like dogs balls on radar."

Excuse my asking, but how well do Dog-balls stand out on Radar?

Re:No it isn't invisible (5, Funny)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282775)

Removing the dog balls from the B-2 bomber reduced its radar return by 42%.

Really.

Re:No it isn't invisible (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282709)

"Of course visibility to the naked eye is only a very small part of invisibility. This thing probably sticks out like dogs balls on radar."

Hmm. Terrorists hiding in caves probably rely on eyes on target, not radar on dog balls. And, the scale of these is pretty small. So, I'm thinking that "dog balls" aren't that visible on radar.

Re:No it isn't invisible (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282871)

All anti-air weapons come with radars these days, you're not going to hit a UAV with an AK-47 no matter how good of a shot you are.

Re:No it isn't invisible (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283191)

All anti-air weapons come with radars these days,
Actually, no, I think most man-portable SAMs still use the Mark I eyeball for target acquisition and IR for tracking.

Re:No it isn't invisible (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283647)

At that size? It'd generate the same size radar return as a friggin seagull.

Re:Invisible (4, Interesting)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282361)

This looks designed to be robotic, so don't worry about the pilot.

And, while not completely invisible, it has a much lower visual signature than anything else of comperable size. I'm just not quite sure what the use is: it probably has a higher radar cross-section, so it's fairly useless as a spy-plane. The only thing you are really hiding from are people. Or civilians. Might be usefull as a close-rage spybot on a battlefield, but anybody with smart weapons can see and hit it quickly.

Re:Invisible (2, Insightful)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282587)

What was the last war the USA fought against anyone with smart weapons? My guess is that this is being marketed toward the needs of warfar against low-tech enemies using guerilla techniques. I could also anticipate use as a "look over this next hill" tool where you only need 30 seconds of flight. If a smart missile is only 30 seconds out I think you may have bigger problems.

Re:Invisible (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282629)

True, that's probably the best use. But in all honesty, this thing is still going to be more detectable than just poking your head over the rise. It might be useful, but I doubt it overall.

Re:Invisible (2, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282653)

it probably has a higher radar cross-section, so it's fairly useless as a spy-plane. The only thing you are really hiding from are people. Or civilians. Might be usefull as a close-rage spybot on a battlefield, but anybody with smart weapons can see and hit it quickly.

So...
Usefull against an insurgency.
Not usefull if invading the swiss.

I wonder if anyone concerned with insurgencies has got some kind of large military budget... they might want a few of these.

Re:Invisible (1)

ichigo 2.0 (900288) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283245)

They're also useful against American citizens.

Re:Invisible (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283297)

Because governments need flying cameras that civilians can't see...

Mmm a bit complicated for tactical use (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283423)

What about a transparent pillow shaped balloon tethered with fishing line, payload being a webcam sized video camera. Very simple, very small, stationary, very cheap. Could be hosted in a shoebox sized enclosure, dropped off at strategic locations.

 

Re:Invisible (1)

MrSquishy (916581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282451)

but it really didn't look too invisible.
Where does something need to be in the non-visible spectrum to achieve adequate invisibility?

And the one you are looking at could be the decoy. The other 7 floating around you are the real spy drones.

Re:Invisible (1)

kthejoker (931838) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283203)

"Invisible Unmanned Aircraft."

Seriously - you didn't even RTFT.

Before the Inevitable Slashdotting... (1)

CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282241)

Story with pictures here [mirrordot.com] , and videos here [mirrordot.com] . Looks pretty neat, but I'm not too sure how practical it will be to use.

Alt. Pics & materials (1)

MrSquishy (916581) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282565)

Pictures here [about] .
Also, materials [about] and blueprints [about] .

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282257)

did you see that??

See what?

Hmm (2, Informative)

Crazy Man on Fire (153457) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282271)

I see three poor quality videos that have been edited to make the craft blur out.

Re:Hmm (5, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282315)

No no no, what you're seeing is the craft edited into the video in the first place. You can't see it normally 'cos it's invisible.

The Videos (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282557)

Not linkified on purpose
The vids are already slowing down

http://www.veratech.aero/mpg/Phantom First Flight.mpg
http://www.veratech.aero/mpg/Phantom 7-19-2006.mpg
http://www.veratech.aero/mpg/Phantom Model Flight.mpg

Coralizing the links didn't seem to work

who does air defense with naked eyes anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282275)

unmanned aircraft are mostly used for air surveillance/reconaissance. protecting them against naked eyes are not of much value since who does air defense with naked eyes anyway?

Re:who does air defense with naked eyes anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282381)

who does air defense with naked eyes anyway?

This guy, Al something. Al Queda, thats it. Anyway, the site implies its more of a short range, troop level thing. Anyone behind that ridge? Where's that sniper shooting from? Real impressive if it works.

Re:who does air defense with naked eyes anyway? (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282553)

The main goal is to use this as a drone in urban warfare and other short distance scenarios which are probably not going to be protected by radar.

Still, it looks like this baby could be quite easy to tke out with a shotgun :-).

Re:who does air defense with naked eyes anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282725)

Still, it looks like this baby could be quite easy to tke out with a shotgun :-).
Most babies are.

Re:who does air defense with naked eyes anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283349)

easy to take out with a shotgun ... or a rock.

Yes, but... (1)

turgid (580780) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282277)

Does it have a reactionless microwave relativity drive? Or does it create memory in water molecules?

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283091)

obviously, it uses a series of tubes...

less visible more radar (1)

KDN (3283) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282285)

Hm, this system could make the visual identification harder, but the dual positive and negative doppler shift on a radar would be a dead giveaway to its presence. So is that SAM on the ground radar or optical? To paraphrase Client Eastwood as Dirty Harry: do you feel lucky?

Re:less visible more radar (2, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282389)

The site has a photo of two kids in flea market knockoff BDUs. One is wearing set of, probably broken, VR goggles and the other has $7.99 Tasco folding binoculars around his neck.

Somehow I get the feeling these people are not going to impress anyone in US military procurement enough to get much more than laughed at.

Re:less visible more radar (1)

maximusind (893564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282549)

Not only that, but all (3) of the demo videos look like they take place at the high-school track or in the developer's front yard. In addition, this thing will have to fly pretty high to not be heard by the targets, meaning it'll be all over radar.

Re:less visible more radar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282433)

This obviously has applications in civilian monitoring, as opposed to monitoring of the more technologically superior military installations. And, whatever sound it makes might not be noticeable in large cities.

Besides, something as small as a boomerang might not be picked up by radar, or would be considered little more than a glitch. Think mounting a camera on an insect and controlling the insect remotely. That'd be what most radar systems will perceive it as.

Re:less visible more radar (1)

Dan Slotman (974474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282953)

It is larger than a boomerang. The videos are of a prototype. The website lists dimensions of "two to ten feet in length" and "two to six inches in height".

Re:less visible more radar (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282911)

The use this would have would be on a purely troop level sort of thing. You might throw one to see what is on the other side of some trees or a hill. You would hide it so that the enemy doesn't instantly spot where it is coming from and infer that soldiers are also there. Being harder to see, it is also resistant against being shot down by visual means. Does this thing show up like a big blip on radar? Probably, but what would the enemy do in response? Shoot a multi-thousand dollar SAM at a 100 dollar toy? If an enemy wants to give away its AAA defense locations shooting at cheap drones, more power to them.

All of that said, I doubt this thing will be much of a hit. You can make smaller drones with more payloads that are probably quieter using cheaper more conventional techniques. If I were a soldier, I would much rather have a drone that can move to a location faster and get a GPS coordinate on a target for a mortar/air/artillery strike. A little extra visual 'stealth' that is probably lost in increased noise isn't a big concern. If a skill shot manages to knock out a drone with a visually aimed weapon... well, if there is something the US army doesn't lack, it is more toys then the enemy has bullets.

Early prototypes of this were deployed in WWII (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282319)

The Polish airforce actually deployed several manned versions of this concept in the beginning of WWII. Unfortunately a mission to bomb Berlin ended in complete failure when the entire fleet crashed after the pilots got very very dizzy. At that time the concept of an air sickness bag did not yet exist.

...and silent? (1)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282323)

It might be invivsible but, since they liken it to a helicopter, I bet I'd notice even an invisible helicopter flying overhead simply from the noise and downdraft (if it was low enough)!

Wow! (2, Informative)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282349)

I opened the video in Kaffeine, and all I saw was a huge black square! Wow! These things are _really_ invisible!

Prior art -- and are boomerangs invisible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282357)

Congratulations, you've just patented the boomerang. Sharpen the edges and you've copied the killer boomerang from the "Mad Max" movie.

From the video, it's not invisible at all. Maybe you can sneak up on Kangaroos or other animals with no stereo vision.

Re:Prior art -- and are boomerangs invisible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282919)

Yep, it is very visible looking on the film.

I'd think for something as small as this, you might consider making the body of it out of a transparent plastic. The guts (motors, electronics, etc) would still be very visible, but you'd probably decrease the visible cross-section by half.

Wikipedia is communism! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282395)

breun writes to bring us up to date on the doings of Jon Lech Johansen, known as 'DVD Jon' after he cracked CSS encryption at the age of 15. As reported by GigaOM's Liz Gannes, Johansen has now reverse-engineered Apple's FairPlay DRM. But not to crack it. Instead Johansen's company, DoubleTwist Ventures, wants to license the tech to media companies shut out by Apple from playing their content on the iPod. And, soon, on the iTV. Johansen could end up selling a lot of hardware for Apple.

invisible video too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282403)

A little slashdotting and now the video file is invisible! I'll bet the web servers will be invisible in 3...2...1...

Image Resolutions (2, Insightful)

TeachingMachines (519187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282425)

It would take another incredible invention to get usable photos from this thing, photos with any decent resolution. Seems like a fun toy, but how could a camera composite the images?

Re:Image Resolutions (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282497)

Well, if you put the camera in the center of the thing and actually rotated the CAMERA the oposite direction, you could get the camera relativly stationary. Combine that with a fast shutter speed (daylight use only, probably) and you could get some pretty good picutes out of it.

Re:Image Resolutions (2, Insightful)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282755)

Um if the camera is in the middle doesn't that effectivly negate the whole premise for why the thing is not visible to the naked eye?

Re:Image Resolutions (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283175)

It doesn't matter where the camera is as long as it's counter-rotated. The vibration from translation of an offset camera would be most noticeable in the near-field, and even that could be mitigated by timing the shutter to coincide with a specific point in the rotation. If the rotation is fast enough, two shutters per rotation could be pretty a effective stereoscopic camara.

Of course, you'd have to get the shutter speed fast enough to avoid blurring in-frame, so low-light operations would be limited.. then again, there's not much need for a naked-eye only invisibility under low-light conditions anyway.

Re:Image Resolutions (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283283)

On the shutter speed issue, it depends on just how fast the thing rotates, but this is also the government. If the CIA buys a bunch of these things, there is no reason they couldn't put in their new Camera 2,000,000 that only needs 1/1000th the light of a traditional digital camera (or whatever other cool camera gizmos they have that we don't know about).

Two Words... (1)

penguinwhoflew (904673) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282439)

Nude. Beaches.

There's your prior art (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282443)

One version of the drone is small enough to launch by throwing it like a boomerang.

Re:There's your prior art (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282987)

Where did you get a remote controlled boomerang with built-in camera from?

Problem/Solution (4, Insightful)

hypnagogue (700024) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282467)

Problem: new drone design rotates so quick the human eye can't see it.
Solution: strobing LCD glasses.

Once again a $50M defense project defeated by $30 worth of hardware.

Re:Problem/Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282685)

Alternately, you can just spread your fingers and wiggle your hand in front of your face [physlink.com] .

Re:Problem/Solution (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283243)

Yeah that works.. if you know where to look. How does that help you if you don't know they're coming?

If the insurgents are wearing stroby glasses all the time or constantly look around shaking their hands in front of their faces, they're going to be pretty easy to identify.

Homeworld Probe? (1)

silentbozo (542534) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282477)

Is it just me, or does the patent drawing for this device look suspiciously like the probe from homeworld [google.com] ?

sounds like snake oil... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282483)

Fast moving objects don't disappear. The human eye has a limit to how fast it responds. When you look at a propeller, it spins so fast that your eye sees the average, so you see what looks like a disk.

If this object was rotating fast enough, you'll see the average, probably some kind of cone.

Not that great (5, Insightful)

Zebra_X (13249) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282503)

Have a look at the site. The first two demo videos blur the craft out towards the end of the clip to give the impression of being invisible. I reality, the craft is not that invisible - it certainly has a center of rotation that is clearly visible, and in many ways it looks like a very large boomerang.

On of the largest drawbacks I can see is that the drone does spin around, and around and around. It will be very difficult to fit a useful payload on a craft like this. It's design is such that the cargo room for anything but the operational parts is severly limited. I might add, how does one determine the direction of travel when one's compass is constantly spinning around?

Also the amount of post processing needed to create a useful video feed from such a craft makes it almost impractical for use. Not to mention that other detection systems (IR comes to mind) would be largely incompatible with the operation of this machine.

Finally, the web site has clearly been created by the guy in the videos. It's also clear that he's completely infatuated with intellectual property. I think his craft is interesting, but in a novelty sort of way.

Re:Not that great (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282669)

My favorite page on the site is http://veratech.aero/digital.html [veratech.aero] . Essentially:


Digital High-Speed Camera VeraTech Aero's revolutionary High speed, rotating camera and image correcting circuitry. Our ultra-High speed shutter system can capture an image anywhere on the horizon. This camera can actually view a 360 spherical radius

Followed by a large graphic stating the page contains proprietary information.

A 360 spherical radius, these people are dealing with some serious technology for sure.

Re:Not that great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282681)

It will be very difficult to fit a useful payload on a craft like this. It's design is such that the cargo room for anything but the operational parts is severly limited. I might add, how does one determine the direction of travel when one's compass is constantly spinning around?
1) Its clearly stated purpose is for surveillance, what payload does it need? 2) Gyroscopes and/or GPS Looks like they're trying to suggest it as a portable, readily deployable, invisible, short range surveillance device (for infantry use). This is a totally different role than something like a predator drone.

Re:Not that great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283395)

"Also the amount of post processing needed to create a useful video feed from such a craft makes it almost impractical for use"

Or, you could fit it with a stick and bearing so the camera stays still while everything else moves.

Waste of money... (3, Interesting)

ltwally (313043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282507)

Military drones fly at extremely high altitudes. Thus, they don't have to worry about being spotted by the naked eye. They're also very small, so they have a little tiney-tiny radar cross-section, too -- making them look like a bird on most radar screens.

Basically, this sounds overly-complicated and expensive to implement and is utterly unneeded. So... the military may well go for it! But it's still completely retarded.

Re:Waste of money... (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282747)

Military drones fly at extremely high altitudes.

completely retarded. [gatech.edu]

Re:Waste of money... (2, Insightful)

bmajik (96670) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282923)

Your response is both factually incorrect and unimaginative.

There are a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles in the US armed forces that serve a variety of missions. Surely you've heard of the UAV launched from Iowa class battleships as a targeting / BDA unit, that an Iraqi tried to surrender to ? (IIRC, this one was a "Predator").

In any case, there is probably a role for a unit-deployable, short range, low altatitude, small form factor, long "hang time" (ability to stay airborne in a localized area for extended time) UAV. The scenrio here is that a small company of men and one or two armored vehicles needs to enter a town with an unknown enemy force deployment. On the outskirts of town, they unpack their suit-case sized UAV, start its engines, and hand-launch it into the sky. The trained operator (for now) watches the real time video feed on their laptop. The UAV gives the troops an aerial view of the town - they can map out block or unblocked streets/alleys.. they can spot rooftop snipers.. they can get early warnings of people spilling out of buildings in other parts of the town.

The key here is distributed, localized intelligence gathering that is deployed and consumed by field units.. it is more pertinent and easier (and faster!) to act on then something more full size where intel goes back to an Air conditioned trailer hundreds of miles away from the theater of operation, and intel goes up and down the chain of command.

small-unit sized deployable semi-autonomous robots are a cutting edge application of commodity hardware and software. You need something cheap, field proof, and easy for lower level enlisted men to launch, operate, and recover. The smarter the software, the less of a burden it is on the operator(s), and the more value it provides. Given the changing nature of combat (trained army goes through town hoping to not get ambushed), small-scale UAVs are absolutely worth persuing.

Never mind that they're dirt cheap (as military hardware goes) - some prototypes are little more than the RC model aircraft you see at hobbyist stores with some cameras, radio control equipment, and a small embedded device.

Move on people... (1)

rizole (666389) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282529)

...nothing to see here.

Not blue, Pink!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16282543)

Making the plane sky blue, or largely transparent, should help conceal it further, Dammar claims.

I was told once by an aircraft engineer that the best color to be invisible to a human against a blue sky is pink. He said it was never used because no fight jock will ever fly a pink plane.

I have yet to find anything to back up that statement, but I figured now's the time to mention it here on /. to see if any of you heard this.

Wonder Woman is back! (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282555)

Of course it is invisible, and there is not a man in it.

Article Picture (2, Funny)

drpimp (900837) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282577)

Is it me, or do the boys in the article in fatigues look like they are like 13? Made for the Army, but cool enough for teens? Hmm, interesting!

Respond, Unman, respond! (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282637)

When there's no guy inside to pick up the phone and give directions, how on Earth are they going to find it when they crash it? 'Cause they will. Heard of birdstrike? How are the birds supposed to avoid a plane they can't see?
Unless they start paying the birds some decent wages, this invention is a fluke.

Did anyone first think... (1)

Bushwuly (585191) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282649)

... Macross?

I mean, come on; VeraTech?

Images of transforming fighter jets were dancing in my head... (sigh)

Like a car's wheel (1, Funny)

Gruneun (261463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282807)

Once it gets up to a certain speed, will the optical illusion cause it to appear to be spinning very slowly in the opposite direction? It might be easy to identify then.

Re:Like a car's wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283563)

Time to get out of the basement and look at reality with your own eyes, instead of only through your mom's TV. Well, make sure it's when the sun is up and things aren't lit exclusively by flourescent light [straightdope.com] .

And the point is.... ? (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282951)

And the point of making it invisible is.....?

Somehow I don't see any super up-side to this feature. Most people keep their eyes near the ground anyway, and don't have eyes in the back of their heads, so just keeping the surveillance camera between the sun and the target is going to be beacoup camo anyway.

I've got one (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16282983)

Invisible Plane?

I build one of these things years ago. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it since its first test flight.

Prior Art (4, Funny)

El_Smack (267329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283011)

Man, will they be pissed when they see this [engadget.com] .

The Ravenous Bugblatter Drone (1)

maiden_taiwan (516943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283025)

If it can't see you, you can't see it!

Phantom Products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283077)

I wonder if VeraTech is working on the Phantom gaming console and DNF. Some products were designed to be invisible, and some just end up that way.

Here is the video of this aircraft: (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283079)

Below you can see the video of the 'aircraft':

        X

VeraTech vs Veritech (Robotech) (2, Funny)

Zantetsuken (935350) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283141)

Did anybody else think of the similarity between VeraTech and Veritech [wikipedia.org] of the Robotech [wikipedia.org] anime? The article summary even says "...it folds..." - a transformation just like the Veritech Fighter to humanoid form!

And now, thanks to slashdot... (0)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283195)

A third of the intelligence agencies in the world are trying to develop the same idea...

And I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16283325)

welcom our invisible, unmanned, aircraft controlling overlords.

Did you see that?
Didn't think so...

With this posted on /. (2)

StarfishOne (756076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283425)

I'm getting the feeling that their server is the thing that is really getting closer to becoming invisible, rather than their UAV.

Has it's Ups & Downs (2, Informative)

maggard (5579) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283487)

First off its pretty clear this is an RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle), so no need to worry about anyone yakking up dizzy in the cockpit. Next it wont be invisible, itll be blurry to the eye. Thats still a good thing, itll make it harder to track, shoot, and be sure of what it has been up to.

What it wont be is unobtrusive. Its gonna be noisy, have a RADAR/LIDAR signature, and be putting out a fair bit of heat. So unless it is pretty high up folks will be aware it is around, unaided have a general sense of where, and with equipment (including IR goggles) probably be able pinpoint it fairly quickly.

As for images, yeah, crazy-spinning-photo-pans will probably be able to be reconstructed into something recognizable, but thatll require some significent processing power & are as likely to miss points of interest as they are to pan over them a few times.

However there are other missions where other sensors would be useful, ones not dependant on a specific field of view. Audio mapping. Radio mapping. Radiation sensing. Specific chemical tracing (mmm... smells like high explosives by that warehouse!)

Also dropping off small payloads could solve much of the in-motion issues, and if the craft is hard to see itll also be hard to figure out exactly where it has dropped off a suitable minituraized payload. Imagine what dropping your cellphone transmitting live audio & video into the middle of an armed camp would tell you. Next imagine if it was a device built to just do that, resembles a rock, and nobody is sure just where the drone was... Could it be found? Sure, eventually, after much disruption.

The device may be being heavily hyped, but it is a clever hack nonetheless and could have some real applications. And the next time I hear the annoying musquito-on-steroids whine of a model helicopter nearby I wont be so confident if I cant see it/it cant see me.

Aside from all the jokes... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283489)

The video doesn't seem to verify in any way that this vehicle is any more controllable than those $20 plastic UFO things you can buy in the mall... the only control is up or down... ?? Its going to take some seasoned software/hardware to control the flight since the entire vehicle rotates. I'm guessing > $2500 in hardware just to get an attempt at controlled flights. That's just a guess, but there is a persistent problem with things that rotate... orientation. I'm thinking it will be difficult to even judge the angular velocity of the wing part? There is a huge amount of math to solve before it becomes useful.

Wake me up when... (1)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283603)

Wake me up when these things are good and cheap enough for "hobbyists" to spy into bedroom, bathroom, and lockerroom windows not normally accessible to the "naked" eye. It's just a matter of time.

high altitude blimps (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16283627)


  I'd be more impressed by high-altitude drone blimps that could move silently and take high-resolution videos in a variety of frequencies. Given that air currents would carry them far and away, perhaps they eventually collapse/drop their balloon sections and fly/glide home (or dive bomb). More interesting to me. There no end to the silly ways we can combine technology.
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