×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Make Item Invisible to Microwaves

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the on-our-way-to-vulcan-level-tech dept.

219

Vicissidude writes "A team of American and British researchers has made a cloak of invisibility. In their experiment the scientists used microwaves to try and detect a copper cylinder. Like light and radar waves, microwaves bounce off objects making them visible and creating a shadow, though it has to be detected with instruments. If you can hide something from microwaves, you can hide it from radar and visible light. In effect the device, made of metamaterials — engineered mixtures of metal and circuit board materials, which could include ceramic, Teflon or fiber composite materials — channels the microwaves around the object being hidden. When water flows around a rock, co-author David R. Smith explained, the water recombines after it passes the rock and people looking at the water downstream would never know it had passed a rock. The first working cloak was in only two dimensions and did cast a small shadow, Smith acknowledged. The next step is to go for three dimensions and to eliminate any shadow."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

219 comments

I know a recently-shampooed poodle (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504445)

...that would love to be invisible to microwaves.

Re:I know a recently-shampooed poodle (4, Funny)

jalvear (610723) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504491)

Yes, I know a few hot dogs in my fridge that would like to be invisible to microwaves.

Re:I know a recently-shampooed poodle (0, Offtopic)

jftitan (736933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505329)

Yeah... I modded this overrated... but where is the retract mod to make funny button?

Why should Harry Potter have all the fun? (2, Funny)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504465)

The article mentions that doing the same thing to light waves should be possible.

How long do you think till you can pick up a Cloak of Invisiblity at your local MegaMart?

Quite some time. (2, Interesting)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504555)

This was already addressed to some degree in the SciFi book "The Last Mortal Man". The reasoning for making them illegal was that the criminal element used them to evade law enforcement. I'm sure the DHS would have alot to say about this.

Re:Quite some time. (3, Interesting)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504603)

Ok, on a serious note then:

How long till we see military issue suits? They wouldn't have to be perfect to be a big help to infantry in medium cover terrain.

Of course, almost anything military gets a civilian version eventually, so we're back where I started.

Re:Quite some time. (4, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505093)

And the biggest beneficiary of infantry invisibility suits? Guerilla fighters.

Sure, they won't get them right away. But you better believe that they'll try to capture them, and any state sponsors that they have immediately try and produce or otherwise acquire them. Big armies, trying to cloak things like tanks driving down the stret, will have a much harder job at it than fighters simply hiding themselves and their RPG, already in the shadows or buildings. Not to mention things like pressure or vibration-triggered mines/IEDs won't be affected, which also benefits guerilla fighters on their own turf.

Re:Quite some time. (2, Insightful)

toddbu (748790) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504937)

The reasoning for making them illegal was that the criminal element used them to evade law enforcement.

This assumes, of course, that the criminal element (or anyone else for that matter) will be able to use the cloaks successfully. Think about how hard it would be to rob a bank. If you're wearing the cloak then how does the teller know that you're there demanding money? Perhaps you just want to cloak the getaway car. How do you find it back when you're done with the job? Even if you remembered where you parked it, finding the door handle would be problematic. If you could turn the cloak on and off then maybe you'd be ok, but with this particular technology it doesn't look like that's possible.

Re:Quite some time. (3, Insightful)

Rei (128717) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505359)

That's silly. The teller can hear you.

Even if there was no "on-off" button on this, it would be trivially easy to "make" one. Paint water colors on all or part of the object that you can wash off. Tape on visible objects. Put a cover over it. Etc. This assumes that the cloak *itself* isn't flexible, allowing you to take that on or off.

Also, I doubt it'll be perfect invisibility. Even if, to the naked eye it appears perfect, I doubt it would to custom goggles analyzing the scene. Surely there are some wavelengths that it won't work on (from the sound of it, you need to customize a layer of this for a *specific* wavelength). Or the polarity could be thrown off. Or all sorts of other things.

Re:Quite some time. (5, Insightful)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505413)

The real issue, and the major downside to a cloak of this nature, is how do you see where you're going while you are wearing it?

If it's diverting all the light around you, there's no light to get in and hit your eye so you can see.

The solution would be much more complex than the basic cloak. You'd have to let some light in, but make sure it didn't get back out again. I can see that being problimatic.

Re:Quite some time. (3, Interesting)

beyowulf (1014741) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505599)

I suppose they'd have to make the cloak invisible to the visible spectrum and provide goggles to see the non-visible(Infared, UV) spectrum.

Re:Quite some time. (2, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505459)

I'm sure any relatively non moronic criminal would quickly work out how to maximise the benefits of being totally invisible and avoid the risks you have mentioned. For example if you were invisible you wouldn't need to ask the teller anything, just follow someone into the secure area of the bank, hang around for a while seeing where all the keys etc are kept and then wander into the vault stuff as much cash as you can carry under your invisibility cloak and wander out again. I don't see why you'd need a getaway car but assuming that you did then cloaking it when you parked it would be a stupid idea, you'd only activate cloaking if you were actually being pursued and trying to hide. With a cloak of invisibility and half a brain you should never be in any situation where you're being pursued.

Re:Quite some time. (1)

blues_shuffle (921429) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505467)

Carry cloak with you. Demand money at teller. Teller follows your demands but alerts security/police somehow. Upon receiving money, place cloak on self. Police are unable to see you, and therefore cannot follow you even if you just walk out.

Re:Why should Harry Potter have all the fun? (5, Informative)

thermopile (571680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505005)

I was on a selection committee for DARPA to look into this stuff a few years ago.

Negative Index of refraction Materials (NIMs), metamaterials, or whatever you want to call them, are relatively easy to make in the microwave region, since the wavelengths are on the order of centimeters. Thus, using a special arrangement of rings, loops, and wires, you can craft a lattice-like material that exhibits negative refraction. Technically, it has a negative magnetic permeability (mu) and negative permittivity (epsilon).

This has all kinds of weird implications. The group velocity is still in the forward direction, but the phase velocity goes in reverse. Evanescent waves propogate, not die off. Perfect lenses can be made. Measurements LESS than the wavelength of light can be taken. There was a list of implications in the August issue of Scientific American, I believe.

Anyhow, this works great at the ~cm scale. Visible light is hard as hell: the scale there is on the order of nanometers. And the copper or silver or tungsten wires used to make the metamaterials have MISERABLE magnetic losses at these small scales, so mu is no longer negative. The energy no longer propagates in the medium. As of three years ago, there were no promising candidates for solving this problem. There was an outside hack at using carbon nanotubes -- which may or may not maintain their permeability down to small scales -- but it was a long shot at best. Arranging the little guys would have been devilishly difficult.

Glad to see that Pendry, who's been in this field almost as long as Veselago, is still making good strides. Even if they can't get to the visible wavelength, NIM's have spectacular applications for microwave antennae.

Re:Why should Harry Potter have all the fun? (3, Funny)

shafty023 (993689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505633)

But when you walk to the aisle with all of the cloaks how will you find them

Almost invisible (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504471)

At some point there will always be a shadow

hmm, (3, Funny)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504473)

I'm unsure about the water claim, although it is true that you can't tell the difference that doesn't mean that it's not different, the water has been moved all over the shop, but it looks like it hasn't been affected.

Other than that if they make something invisable from visable light then it wouldn't be able to see anything, so a person would be blind or a bot would be virtually impossible to navigate, because you couldn't see it or track it...

Still, very interesting idea.

Just talking... (2, Interesting)

nathan s (719490) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504545)

..from my ass, so to speak, but I imagine you could leave certain frequencies uncloaked, enough to slip in, say, remote video from a drone flying nearby or surveillance cameras in the area or GPS satellites in the case of bots. Perhaps a super-advanced version could shift cloaked frequencies on the fly in order to prevent jamming/detection of the video source even. I dunno, if this works in the first place it seems like there should be ways around the "blindness."

Re:Just talking... (2, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504609)

I'd say the simplest is just to make a few small holes in the cloak. If they are small enough they will be overlooked. Attach a small camera to the hole, and you've got a good chance of a wide field of view with a dust-mote sized hole.

Re:Just talking... (2, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504741)

Just think of the military uses. All you have to do is convince your enemy to use this on the roof of all their sensitive laboratories.

sigh (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504589)

clearly, you would make goggles that can filter from a non visible part of the light. Like IR.

Obligatory... (1)

thermopile (571680) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505361)

clearly, you would make goggles that can filter from a non visible part of the light. Like IR.
TEH GOGGLES, THEY DO NOTHING!

Sorry, had to...

Re:hmm, (1)

kid_oliva (899189) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504737)

You have drawn an incorrect conclusion, it absors and redirects light from bouncing off of it. You would still be able to see light coming from another object. What you would want to do though is create googles that where made of so called material on one side so not to let any light back out.

Re:hmm, (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504849)

Other than that if they make something invisable from visable light then it wouldn't be able to see anything, so a person would be blind or a bot would be virtually impossible to navigate, because you couldn't see it or track it...

Interesting story -- one time in German class, we encountered the word "unsichtbar" (roughly, "unsightable"), and I was called upon to guess what it means. I guessed, incorrectly, "blind". (which oddly enough is also spelled "blind" in German.) The teacher then said that no, it means invisible. I tried to make the point that if it's invisible, it's also blind (for that reason), but to no avail ;-)

Like the other posters said, you will have some vision abilities, you just need a workaround of some sort that allows you to see another wavelength.

I'm unsure about the water claim, although it is true that you can't tell the difference that doesn't mean that it's not different, the water has been moved all over the shop, but it looks like it hasn't been affected.

Exactly. The velocities are all as if no rock had been there -- but only if you're far enough downstream.

Re:hmm, (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505681)

I'm unsure about the water claim, although it is true that you can't tell the difference that doesn't mean that it's not different, the water has been moved all over the shop, but it looks like it hasn't been affected.


Exactly. 10, 20, 30 years from now we may have the processing power and precise enough monitoring equipment to look at a river and say if there is a rock a mile upstream or not.

I think the point is to make the item not necessarily invisible but blend it in with the background noise to the point that it is undetectable. This is no small task currently but by the time they get good at this it will be even harder due to advances in detection technologies.

It'll be a very interesting "arms race" indeed.

Re:hmm, (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505711)

Can you say boost and split? No reason why the light can't be routed and diverted.

Moo (4, Insightful)

Chacham (981) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504489)

FTA:
A team of American and British researchers has made a Cloak of Invisibility. Well, OK, it's not perfect. Yet. But it's a start, and it did a pretty good job of hiding a copper cylinder.
So, we'll just just change his name to Harry Copper.

This title is absurd. Invisibilty?

The research is very kewl though, and i hope it progresses. But why not lay off the stupid titles, and produce results based on kewlness or usefulness, instead of what can be termed with a popular buzzword. Information Technology is bad enough from its buzzword infusion. Must we destroy legitamte research/discoveries as well?

Re:Moo (5, Funny)

twostar (675002) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504547)

someone using the term "kewl" is complaining about buzzwords?

*Ring* Hello?
Hi, this is the Pot calling. Is the Kettle in?

Re:Moo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505485)

And "Moo".

Heck, at this point "buzzword" has become a buzzword.

Yay for TV Dinners (4, Funny)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504493)

This will allow for more variety in TV Dinner desserts, because they can just shield it so only the stuff that needs to get nuked will get nuked. w00t!

Re:Yay for TV Dinners (1)

theantipop (803016) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504755)

This will allow for more variety in TV Dinner desserts, because they can just shield it so only the stuff that needs to get nuked will get nuked. w00t!
I don't know what kind of desserts you eat, but mine do not include "engineered mixtures of metal and circuit board materials, which could include ceramic, Teflon or fiber composite materials". Sounds like some expensive and, uh, tasty ice cream.

Re:Yay for TV Dinners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504943)

Just wait until Teflon or fiber composite is integrated into the new Magic Shell!

You know you are a fat geek when... (3, Funny)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504499)

You know you are a fat geek when...
    the first thing that came to your mind when reading this summary was:

"Oh cool, no more burnt and undercooked mini-pizzas!"

I really should go outside more often.

Re:You know you are a fat geek when... (1)

Tycho_Atreides (814306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505965)

>>"You know you are a fat geek when... the first thing that came to your mind when reading this summary was: "Oh cool, no more burnt and undercooked mini-pizzas!" " Incorrect. You know you're a geek when the first thing that came to your mind was "ZOMG now i can complete construction on my operational Klingon bird of prey in my basement!"

All your STEALTH... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504509)

...are belong to US, baby!

bad analogy (1)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504531)

Fluids and rays don't exactly behave the same way. Fluids follow the path of least resistance. Rays just go in a straight line until they hit something.

Re:bad analogy (2, Insightful)

wyldeling (471661) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504573)

Both follow the path of least resistance. It just happens that most of the time light follows a straight line. A mirage [wikipedia.org] is an example of when light doesn't follow a straight line.

Re:bad analogy (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505145)

fluids follow the path of least resistance. Light follows the path of least time.

Fermat's principle (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505583)

To expand: light following the path of least time is known as Fermat's principle [wikipedia.org] . Fermat's principle can in turn be derived from Feynman's path integral formulation of quantum mechanics [wikipedia.org] ; it is related to [wikipedia.org] the principle of least action [wikipedia.org] . Feynman's book QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter has a lay derivation of Fermat's principle from path integrals (due to constructive superposition of quantum phase differences).

Re:bad analogy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505181)

Thanks for the explanation. I always wondered how uncle Ray wrecked his truck.

Microwaves are light (1, Redundant)

wyldeling (471661) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504533)

In your statement, "like light and radar waves", I'm going to assume that you meant light within the visible spectrum. Radio waves and microwaves are also light, just outside of the visible spectrum. They both have wavelengths longer than infrared light.

Sorry to jump down your throat, but this is one of my pet peeves.

Obvious? (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504541)

Girls locker room. Too obvious? Those lucky copper cylinders! I want to hear everything!

Re:Obvious? (1)

dan828 (753380) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504721)

I really hope the you are still in Jr. High.

Re:Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504879)

Nope. We are in our late 40's. He has a teenage daughter.

perhaps not but... (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505569)

people who sell talcum powder might just have a new market...followed by paintball gun manufacturers.

TERRIBLE NEWS! (2, Funny)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504565)

What!! This is awful!! It means my microwave item-detecting device, which I walk around with to detect objects and random items, will now be obsolete!!

Color me dubious (1, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504567)

Sounds mighty fishy.

You might be able to channel some energy around an object, but:

  • There's no way to effectively pass an image through. You can't detect that the light is hitting at a 43 degree angle, therefore you have to pass that photon through and emit it from the other side at the same angle.
  • Detecting, moving, and reemitting the light loses a certain and irreducible percentage of the light, so the "invisible" image is always going to appear darker.
  • Doing this from every possible angle of source and destination is almost infinitely complicated.

Re:Color me dubious (1)

Drahgkar (945536) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504777)

It shouldn't be that hard to accomplish. Take a look at the camouflage [military.com] the military is bound to enjoy. Combine these two and you've got a winner.

Re:Color me dubious (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504941)

True, but to dismiss something like this because it's still possible to detect the cloaked object would be in error. Think about the camoflauge gear militaries already use. You can still see them. HOWEVER, if you're not looking carefully enough, it's a lot easier to miss them in certain environments. The point of cloaking or camoflauge is not to make you undetectable, but to make it require more resources to detect you, just like the point of encryption is not to make the data unreadable to others but to make the threshold required to read it (in terms of money, time, etc.) high enough.

An infiltrator who appears as a dark spot will still be much more effective in how he's so hard to detect.

Re:Color me dubious (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505059)

Actually, 1 and 3 are precisely what these metamaterials can achieve. This one might not achieve 3, however they have worked out spherical structures that will do precisely that.

The next step is to go for three dimensions... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504579)

"The next step is to go for three dimensions and to eliminate any shadow..."

Uh, yeah. This is a bit like saying "now that we've learned to jump 2 feet in the air, the next step is to jump up to the moon." That's a hell of a difference i nmagnitude and it's going to take enormous improvements in scientific understanding to achieve, if invisibility cloaks are ever possible at all.

I have a perfect cloaking material right here... (2, Funny)

thrill12 (711899) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504599)

...in my home.
Only funny thing about it is.... I can't find it.

I bet if I could find it though, I'd win the Nobel prize.

meta-materials (5, Informative)

lgw (121541) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504625)

If you can hide something from microwaves, you can hide it from radar and visible light.

I don't think this follows, at least when we're talking about metamaterials [wikipedia.org] . So far no one has invented metamaterials for optical wavelengths, as metamaterials rely on complex structure that's somewhat wavelength specific. It's easier to play "fool the photon" with microwaves (because of the longer wavelength) or X-rays (because of the higher energy) than it is with visible light. (Xiang Zhang's experiments in extending near-field effects of visible light are a very different mechanism, and are lumpedin with metamaterials simply for lack of a better term.)

Re:meta-materials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504983)

Metamaterials are still pretty new, there is no reason at this moment to assume they won't achieve visible light metamaterials.

Re:meta-materials (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505911)

For optical wavelengths, plasmonic coatings work somewhat on very, very small objects--only time before the "masking" is perfected and they are used on larger items.

Was Anyone Else Thinking... (3, Funny)

Banner (17158) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504629)

Romulan Bird of Prey? (Or equally, the small Klingon ships also armed with the cloaking device?).

Sorry, grew up on waaaay too much startrek :-)

Re:Was Anyone Else Thinking... (4, Insightful)

angelasmark (856143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504869)

You obviously didn't grow up on too much star trek. Any true trekkie would know that its a Romulan Warbird and a Klingon Bird of Prey...

Re:Was Anyone Else Thinking... (5, Funny)

OfficialReverendStev (988479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505813)

You obviously didn't either. Somebody bring me the learnin' stick. You're both technically right. The Romulan Bird-of-Prey (from TOS, small white-ish ship with the bird painted on the bottom) did have a cloaking device, as did the Klingon (and Romulan) D-7 Battlecruiser. In the TNG era the Romulan Warbird (big and green) and the contemporary Klingon ships (Bird-of-Prey and Vor'Cha). Now, go play. I have a phaser to polish.

"In effect the device, made of metamaterials..." (2, Funny)

FirmWarez (645119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504641)

Ah, so the ship is the cloaking device! So much for putting on pointy ears and stealing it.

The researchers are still mystified.... (1)

Rackstraw (782748) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504705)

...as they are unable to explain why using their new invention disables their other new invention, the prototype phaser weapon.

Has anyone seen David Smith? I searched the lab... (2, Funny)

Wonderkid (541329) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504759)

Apparently, he had an accident with the targetting mechanism.

Backpack of Invisibility? (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504791)

I'll go out on a limb on a series of "ifs" (and maybe a bag of physics naivetes), but let's say we perfect this manner of imperceptibly "derefracting" light. And let's say we also complete the ambitious work identifying and manipulating gravitons, still hypothetical. Could we "cloak" spaces and matter from any interaction with our universe, not just electromagnetic? Maybe the Stong and Weak Forces would remain for interaction, but practically, outside the tiny diameter of a nucleus, could anyone notice?

Could a "gravity cloak" create subspaces operating as independent universes? Could we contain matter too highly interactive for current use safely? Like a tiny black hole conveniently near a device it's powering, or a pair coupled into a wormhole for "faster than light" travel through custom-folded space? Vast amounts of stuff crammed into pocketsized spaces.

Maybe the old playground philosphers choosing between "teleportation or invisibility superpowers" will finally have a lab to figure out which is really better.

Re:Backpack of Invisibility? (1)

cHALiTO (101461) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505421)

Yay! magical bag of holding!

or maybe I can finally go around carrying tons of cash (if I had any), a saint-bernard, 3 drinks, a fishing pole, a monkey, a shovel, and loads of pirate-wannabe stuff? excellent!

Re:Backpack of Invisibility? (1)

torako (532270) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505601)

"maybe" a bag of physics naivetes? maybe?

Short answer: no. The theory of electromagnetic fields in a vacuum usually uses Dirchlet boundary conditions for an infinitely far boundary. And that makes sense, because physical fields should vanish as the distance from the source approaches infinity. In addition to that, the fields are smooth functions that don't just drop to zero at some point. All that means that the range of an electromagnetic field is inifite, although you'd have to take retardation into account, i.e. that fact that the field propagates at mostly the speed of light.

While you can do some awesome stuff in solid state physics and optics regarding transparent materials and other nifty things, it's impossible to shield the microscopic fields of the matter, so there'll always be some interaction.

The only working theory of gravity that we have is the theory of General Relativity, and that is not a quantum theory, so let's not talk about gravitons.

Stealth Ship (4, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504815)

Sounds like a better version of stealth. I recall reading that an early attempt at a stealth ship did TOO good of a job of dispersing microwaves (compared to background reflection of empty ocean) and showed up as a moving 'hole' on surface radar screens. Assuming that this technology could be applied to bending light around an object, it would need to do so without creating obvious distortions.

Microwaves? That's nothing! (1)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504889)

The majority of slashdot readers have been invisible to human women for *years* now.

Wake me up when scientists can do *that*.

Re:Microwaves? That's nothing! (2, Funny)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505203)

Already done. Scientests have been invisible to human women long before slashdot was even conceived

I have a cheaper way to do this (3, Funny)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504901)

I make myself invisible to microwaves by unplugging them, or turning off the lights.

Sneaky little buggers, always watching you and beeping at you to take your dinner or coffee out ...

There are a lot of naysayers around here . . . (3, Interesting)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504917)

Without debating the practical aspects of invisibility, I do have to wonder if this could be useful as some sort of radiation shielding? If they're able to do it for more energetic forms of e/m than microwave radiation, it seems to me that it would make an excellent shield. It doesn't have to be perfect invisibility, allowing me to "peek out" of the shield is fine. It doesn't even have to be non-detectable - I don't mind a visible "energy distortion" or "energy turbulence" or whatever - I just don't want to get fried.

Yes, I know - this won't do that much against baryonic radiation, but for e/m . . .

What about radiation from the object? (2, Insightful)

MrHops (712514) | more than 7 years ago | (#16504981)

Seems to me, even given perfect invisibility, that the object in question would radiate energy all by itself.

Do some spectranalysis, and you immediately know something fishy is going on. (Copper won't radiate like the ground, for example)

Please explain this to me, nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16504995)

Please explain this to me, nerds:

If you're inside an invisibility cloak that is bending all the light around you (=stone in water analogy), then surely you couldn't see what's outside the cloak coz no light reaches the inside, right?

Re:Please explain this to me, nerds (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16505211)

Ok folks, that's a wrap! This guy figured it out. The gig is up. The ruse was fun while it lasted. Log off everybody, cause slashdot's shutting down in 10... 9... 8... 7

Watch out for that "next step," it's a doozy. (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505027)

"The first working cloak was in only two dimensions and did cast a small shadow, Smith acknowledged. The next step is to go for three dimensions and to eliminate any shadow."

Right, and my "overunity" (perpetual motion) device has an calculated energy output equal to 100.1% of its input. But due to a few minor engineering losses that reduce the output, the current working model only produces 99.9% of the input.

The next step is to go for that last 0.2%. I did this work very quickly ... and that led to a device that is not optimal. I know how to make a much better one.

And if you'd like to be in on the ground floor, I am letting a very few people buy stock in my enterprise now.

Co-author with last name "Smith" - is he a Doctor? (1)

Damek (515688) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505049)

Cloaking devices are nice and all, but wake me when they've started work on a Chameleon Circuit.

Actual invisibility is useless (1, Interesting)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505151)

If you bend the lightwaves around yourself so that they can continue moving past you, what light waves can enter your eyes, exactly? You'd be in pitch darkness, unable to see a damn thing because the light can't get to you because it's being bent around you. If you choose to allow some light through so you can see, then other people would see blackness there because there's light that's not getting reflected by anything... again, useless.

Re:Actual invisibility is useless (4, Insightful)

DrKyle (818035) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505527)

There's this thing called a pinhole camera, it's a relatively new advance. By allowing this pinhole of light in with the proper equipment just enough light could be absorbed to allow the user to navigate. Of course there would be a visible pinhole floating in space, but could you reliably pick it out at a distance of more than a few feet?

Article From May (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505195)


  the wires posted this one recently, but the science article came out in May. Old news?

It's the first time we _know_ it's been done (1)

Catmeat (20653) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505207)

But for something with such obvious military applications, I wonder if they have really been beaten to the punch by 10 years by some deep black Skunkworks research team, courtesy of about 2 orders of magnitude more funding.

After all, the F-117 first flew in 1977 - it's 30 year old technology. I bet they've not been sitting on their hands since then.

WTF (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505217)

Is the world coming to an end?

Zonk's title is actually more accurate than the original !

hehe, sounds interesting but a bit overhyped. Seems like a long way from a 2-dimensional version to 3. I am not even sure what one would see using 2 dimensional version, how do you hide 2 of 3?? Would not that leave only a line, but with no width you can't see the line, but then it would be complete but its not so.....

I have to ask (1)

jrmiller84 (927224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505373)

For all you people who want to spy on your hot neighbor (including myself, come on, I live near the University of Florida), I have to ask. If you are redirecting light around yourself, you won't be able to see anything yourself. No light will reach your eyes. I suppose something special would need to be employed for this to work. I remember reading about this when studying the effects of light within black holes but please correct me if I'm wrong.

Spelling Nazi (0, Offtopic)

null etc. (524767) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505613)

In their experiment the scientists used microwaves to try and detect a copper cylinder.

Grammatically speaking, usage should be "try to detect". "try and detect" presumes that you are going to try and you are going to detect. If you know that you're going to detect, you don't need to reference "try".

Grammar Nazi (2, Funny)

dosun88888 (265953) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505893)

You didn't point out a single spelling mistake in the original post. You're certainly not the Definition Nazi.

Finally (1)

wwillia99 (984401) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505771)

We finally have the same technology as the predator monsters from the movies. We could use it for hunting and have little pin sized sensors that pick up inferred light and body heat and direct it back to a special mask that we could wear.
I'd like to have a car that redirects Radar and Laser waves so i never get another speeding ticket. All other forms of light is could ignore. That would be awesome, driving by a cop at 90 and him not even picking you up on his radar gun.

A Cloaking Device? (2, Funny)

Ltar (1010889) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505817)

This is a violation of the Treaty of Algeron, the romulan empire will not stand idly by and watch as you disturb the delicate peace between our peoples! Hand over your research and all of your devices to Romulan high command at once, or they will be taken from you.

They're making this WAAAAAAAAY too complicated. (4, Funny)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#16505941)

Just paint the copper cylinder pink and turn on a cheap and simple Somebody Else's Problem Field.......
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...