Invisibility Cloak

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Harry Potter fans take note: scientists have finally come up with a workable design for an invisibility cloak.

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Physicists figured out the complex mathematical equations for making objects invisible by bending light around them last year.

A group of engineers at Purdue University in Indiana have now used those calculations to design a relatively simple device that ought to be able to - one day soon - make objects as big as an airplane simply disappear.

The design calls for tiny metal needles to be fitted into a hairbrush-shaped cone at angles and lengths that would force light to pass around the cloak. This would make everything inside the cone appear to vanish because the light would no longer reflect off it.

"It looks pretty much like fiction, I do realize, but it's completely in agreement with the laws of physics," said lead researcher Vladimir Shalaev, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue.

"Ideally, if we make it real it would work exactly like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak," he said. "It's not going to be heavy because there's going to be very little metal in it."

The still-theoretical design will be published this month in the journal Nature Photonics.

Shaleav said he needs to secure funding to build the device and expects it would take two to three years to come up with a working prototype.

The major limitation is that the current design can only bend the light of a single wave-length at a time, and does not work with the entire frequency range of the visible spectrum.

"How to create a design that works for all colors of visible light at the same time will be a big technical challenge, but we believe it's possible," Shalaev said. "In principal it's doable."

Even blocking a single frequency can lead to useful applications, Shaleav said.

The cloak could shield soldiers from night-vision goggles which use only one wavelength of light. It could also be used to hide objects from "laser designators" used by the military to illuminate a target, he said.

Other researchers have managed to clock objects from the microwave range of the spectrum, which are much larger than the wavelengths of visible light.

This new design is the first for cloaking objects of any size in the range of light visible to humans.

It works by using tiny needles to alter the "index of refraction" around the cone.

Every material has its own refractive index which determines how light bends and slows down as it passes from that material into another. It's commonly described as the bent-stick-in-water effect, which occurs when a stick placed in a glass of water looks bent when seen from outside the glass.

Natural materials typically have a refractive index greater than one. But the tiny metal needles layered inside the cone work to gradually alter the index from zero at the inner surface of the cloak, to one at the outer surface of the cloak. This guides, or bends, light around the cloaked object.

The technology for making the tiny needles is already used to make nanotech devices. The needles in the theoretical design are about as wide as 10 nanometers, or billionths of a meter, and as long as hundreds of nanometers.

A single nanometer is roughly the size of 20 hydrogen atoms strung together.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/2007040...nvisibility;_ylt=AvQ3RtBUWyBqTffZCW8Fuh7MWM0F
 
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Jeez o_O The future is now, I guess.

I like how Harry Potter is the first thing they refer to :rolleyes:
 
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Oh man, what will they invent next?
This type of thing could be useful in wars, like you've seen in Metal gear solid 4 trailers..

Earlier some guy invented Railgun, so let's think..

Railgun + Cloaking = More than deadly.

Soon they'll develop an army of Metal Gears ^^
 
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Oh man, what will they invent next?
This type of thing could be useful in wars, like you've seen in Metal gear solid 4 trailers..

Earlier some guy invented Railgun, so let's think..

Railgun + Cloaking = More than deadly.

Soon they'll develop an army of Metal Gears ^^
Nah it won't be useful in wars. Of course, all 15-year old boys will get one to sneak into girl's showers. j/k

Next thing after cloaking devices: VR sex^^
 
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This is just amazing....I can't believe it.....but there's one major loop-hole: Will it be transparent? There's no point in people not being able to see you if you can't see them.

@kam: Hmm, I'm 15 since friday. Where can I get this thing? xD
 
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Nah it won't be useful in wars
So how can you know that?
It could be useful for many sneaking and infiltration missions, but we can't know that part til we experience it.
 
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Ugh... this could get rough.
 
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Guys, don't get your hopes up. It will probably be illegal. Don't you understand what would happen if every household had one of these cloaks? Complete and utter chaos, people stealing stuff, sneaking into movie theaters, concerts, using them to deal drugs etc. Basically the legalization of these things would make it so easy for criminals. So whoever thought that he would experience what it's like to be invisible, think again.
 

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Guys, don't get your hopes up. It will probably be illegal. Don't you understand what would happen if every household had one of these cloaks? Complete and utter chaos, people stealing stuff, sneaking into movie theaters, concerts, using them to deal drugs etc. Basically the legalization of these things would make it so easy for criminals. So whoever thought that he would experience what it's like to be invisible, think again.
Which is why this new technology is being developed for military use, and probably military use only. Even if something like this makes it to the black market, whoever wishes to buy it will need to have a very large wallet.
 
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Which is why this new technology is being developed for military use, and probably military use only. Even if something like this makes it to the black market, whoever wishes to buy it will need to have a very large wallet.
And they will need to know what the **** they are doing. It won't be like some banned firearm that you just need to press a button for it to have results.
 
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how are you supposed to be able to see the other side of the cloak?
 
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Meh, I'll believe it when I see it.

Dont get me wrong, I'm not saying it's impossible, I just need to see it before I'll believe some scientists have actually managed to do that =P
 

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I don't get it... Isn't the color black the absence of all light? Wouldn't the object simply appear black if all colors reflect off it? I really know nothing about physics, I'm just throwing in the **** I learned in 4th grade art class in there.

But if the cloak is invisible and I was inside the cloak, wouldn't I be visible? Technically the cloak would just be transparent, right? Or am I completely off base?

Anyways, i'm hoping the world never invents cloaking. I can only imagine the horrible ways this could be used.
 
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I don't get it... Isn't the color black the absence of all light? Wouldn't the object simply appear black if all colors reflect off it? I really know nothing about physics, I'm just throwing in the **** I learned in 4th grade art class in there.

But if the cloak is invisible and I was inside the cloak, wouldn't I be visible? Technically the cloak would just be transparent, right? Or am I completely off base?

Anyways, i'm hoping the world never invents cloaking. I can only imagine the horrible ways this could be used.
Well you still have sound to consider, what with footsteps and brushing up against things. And I think a sensor could pick up irregular light patterns.
 

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Well you still have sound to consider, what with footsteps and brushing up against things. And I think a sensor could pick up irregular light patterns.
I was thinking along the lines of terrorism. I guess stealing too. If someone can steal something without being invisible, I don't even want to imagine what they can do with invisibility.
 
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What's funny is this info has been on National Geographic for over 6 months now.
 
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I don't get it... Isn't the color black the absence of all light? Wouldn't the object simply appear black if all colors reflect off it? I really know nothing about physics, I'm just throwing in the **** I learned in 4th grade art class in there.

But if the cloak is invisible and I was inside the cloak, wouldn't I be visible? Technically the cloak would just be transparent, right? Or am I completely off base?

Anyways, i'm hoping the world never invents cloaking. I can only imagine the horrible ways this could be used.
The colour black means that no (visible) light is reflected by the object.

But the way it's described, I don't think it will just make something invisible.
The light is reflected/refracted around the object so it doesn't reflect light itself. But that has to cause some visible distortion... (well the light had to be bended in such a way that it travels the same way around the object as if there were no object to create no distortion).
But maybe I just get it wrong.
 
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YES!... girls locker room here i come...

also i agree with Dan shouldn't get to excited, i mean the military will most likely have it to infiltrate some secret bases around places.
 
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Even if something isn't visible in one spectrum (in this case, light), you can still pick them up using thermal sensors.

I wouldn't get too worried about terrorist attacks just yet. :p
 
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Japanese have been able to do this for much longer, puh...

 

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