Ok, so no reservations yet - but that day may not be too far off…
It was however announced today that a team of UC Berkeley scientists are a step closer to developing cloaking devices that could render people and objects invisible.
A group of researchers have successfully demonstrated, for the first time, that they can now cloak 3D objects (as opposed to previous successes in cloaking only thin, two-dimensional objects) using engineered materials that redirect light.
We can see objects because they scatter the light that strikes them, reflecting some of it back to our eye.
“Cloaking” uses materials, known as metamaterials, to deflect radar, light or other waves around an object. These metamaterials are mixtures of metal and circuit board materials such as ceramic, Teflon or fibre composite.
Further info will be released later this week in the journals Nature and Science.
So until this becomes a reality, we can only guess at some of the many positive ways invisibility and or invisibility cloaks will help mankind. Perhaps the best way to put this into perspective, would be to approach it visually using a tag-style chart:
Actually, scientists hope the research can lead to improved antenna performance, reversing the Doppler effect, higher-resolution optical imaging, nanocircuits for high-powered computers, and, eventually, cloaking devices that could render objects invisible to humans.
UC Berkeley’s Prof Zhang says the materials “bring us a major step closer to the development of practical applications for metamaterials.”
“What makes both these materials stand out is that they are able to function in a broad spectrum of optical wavelengths with lower energy loss,” said Prof Zhang. But they also caution that they are still far off from invisibility cloaks and other applications that may capture the imagination.
But unlike the invisibility cloaks we’ve seen in movies and TV shows such as Start Trek or Harry Potter, current metamaterial technology is extremely fragile and made of metal. Devising a way to manufacture these materials to hatch our devious plots meet our needs is going to be a challenge in and of itself.
I’ll take two please.