Science Catches Up with Harry Potter – almost

The U.S. Military Is One Step Closer to Having Invisibility Cloaks

cloak of invisibilityThe problem with invisibility cloaks, as any fule kno, is though they make the object wrapped in them invisible, we can still see the cloak. These lads didn’t think that one through. (picture source)

Highlighted words are keywords which reveal this is actually a research grant phishing exercise and the research team claiming a breakthrough have really done nothing very remarkable.

Debashis Chanda, leader of a team of researchers at the University of Central Florida are claims his project team are a step closer to creating invisibility shields that may render parked tanks and aircraft virtually invisible.

The team claim to have developed a technique that will make it easier to create “metamaterials” which have the potential to bend light rays around objects, creating, in effect, invisibility.

In 2007, a group of engineers from Purdue University a announced a “cloak of invisibility” design of cylindrically-arranged nano-needles that could deflect light around an object in somewhat the same way that light, when it hits water, bends around the object just beneath the surface, or a hot flat expanse, can create the illusion of water near desert horizon. Well as you all know, if you are swimming underwater, anyone standing on the edge of the pool can’t see you, they just think they can.

Rays of light which are composed of photons, change shape depending on the atomic properties of the objects that they encounter. According to reports, the Purdue researchers could hide only large stationary objects because of the design’s limits in terms of electromagnetic wavelength. In fact they could not really hide large objects, they just made them blurred and fuzzy and harder to see.

Since, researchers from around the world have indulged in an undignified scabble to make outrageous claims in order to secure their slice of the multi billion dollar research funding that will be thrown at anyone who can actually make things invisible, not just to the naked eye, but to radar and other electronic surveillance equipment (which is a good deal cheaper than the stuff you need to “potentially” mask things from eyes, cameras etc. Scientists claim to have made steady progress in metamaterial design. But design and production are two different things.

Metamaterial doesn’t exactly grow on trees. It has to be engineered at the nanoscale (one billionth of a meter or one millionth of a millimeter in size) so creating enough of it to hide a tank or missile or Boeing 777 (just an example) is something of a challenge. Chanda and his fellow researchers have developed a technique that allows for the mass-production of metamaterial through a type of type of printing process.

“The technique creates stacks of metallic dielectric wafers that then merge together, chemically, called nanotransfer. “You create a stack and then another stack and you actually grow them on top of each other chemically,” Chanda explained. He said he can use this technique to print 4 inch-by-4 inch areas of metamaterial that could, in principle, be altered to deflect light. The alternative method right now is having is assembling individuaFl pieces of metamaterial, most no bigger than one millionth of a meter.”

So he’s just a nerd making exaggerated claimed about what 3D printers can do? Bit like the idiot who claimed we’ll be able to print replacement body parts (no, he wasn’t joking).

Ah well, the science heads have been telling us for the past forty years that they are five years away from building a computer with human levels of intelligence. And computers might have become smaller and faster but they still are less intelligent than a slug. It looks like the military – industrial complex are still going to be relying on Hogwarts for their World War Three winning technology.

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