Stories tagged invisibility

May
25
2010

I am invisible: And thinking about eating you.
I am invisible: And thinking about eating you.Courtesy Etrusko25
You could be attacked from above at any second. By a shark. Because they are invisible. And you can’t see invisible things. So they can easily attack you.

I mean, you’re not going to get attacked by just any shark. But, really, if there’s an invisible shark hovering above you, about to attack, does it matter what kind of shark it is? That’s like a squirrel wondering if the car that’s about to force its digestive tract out through its lowermost orifice is a Ford or a Toyota. Let’s be practical here.

If you must know, the shark is called a “velvet bellied lantern shark.” (Coincidentally, if you replace “shark” with “head” you have my childhood nickname.)

But the important part, again, is that it can turn invisible.

It’s not quite up to Harry Potter levels, at least—the shark is only invisible from below, thanks to its velvety lantern belly. See, if you’re a weak little prey species flopping pathetically around the ocean (I assume you are), if you see a dark shadow pass overhead, you want to flop pathetically toward some cover, because dark shadows often come from things that can eat you. Like a shark! The underside of this shark, however, is covered with light-producing organs, called photophores, which shine at the same frequencies as the sunlight that filters through the water. That, of course, tricks the other little fishies (and you) into thinking that the shark isn’t there.

It’s more than a little concerning, isn’t it? Don’t worry, though. I’ve been working on a product for just this sort of problem, and I think it’s about ready. It’s an invisible-shark detecting stick. It actually looks a lot like a wooden yardstick, and you can even use it for measuring things up to one yard long, but it’s really meant for keeping you safe from invisible sharks. You use it by holding it above your head at all times. If you feel a pressure on the stick, just look up. If you see a doorway, or a broken light fixture or ceiling fan, you’re probably safe. But if you look up and see only a familiar comforting glow, you should dive for cover. Or, if you carry a firearm, you should shoot wildly into the air above you. Shark crisis averted.

They’re $30. Email me.

Nov
04
2007

An invisible tank: Right in front of that other tank.  (photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)
An invisible tank: Right in front of that other tank. (photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)
Great Britain has been making some progress in the field of “ways to kill people with out them seeing you do it.” In the past, we had to be satisfied with impersonal methods like booby traps and poisoning, but, with the help of science, before long we should be able to safely view our own nefarious deeds - while hiding in plain sight! Sort of.

The UK’s Ministry of Defense has recently unveiled a prototype “invisible” tank, and predicts that similar models will be ready for service (the service of blowing things up! Yeah!) by 2012.. Unlike a lot of other invisibility research, which often focuses on bending light around an object, the invisi-tank (as I like to call it) relies on “cameras and projectors to beam images of the surrounding landscape onto the tank.” I’m not sure if these cameras and projectors are on the tank itself, or nearby. That’s probably a secret.

A soldier who was present at the trials was quoted as saying, "This technology is incredible. If I hadn't been present I wouldn't have believed it. I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees - but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun."

It is also believed that the Ministry of Defense is “testing a military jacket that works on the same principals.”

I recommend that you take a look at the original article. The picture of the scientist in charge of the project is great. He completely redefines the stereotypical image of a scientist. Oh wait, no, I mean he reinforces it.

Oct
25
2006

Invisibility cloak: Could this be in the future?
Invisibility cloak: Could this be in the future?

Check this out!

Researchers at Duke University, Imperial College (London), and SensorMetrix have developed a cloaking device. Take that you pesky Romulans!

Before I get too carried away I should probably mention that the cloaking device does not cloak objects from sight, which is what I first think of when I think cloaking device, not yet anyway. Researchers demonstrated that the cloak they developed can deflect microwave beams so they flow around an object with little distortion, making it appear almost "invisible".

The researchers used metamaterials to create the cloak. The metamaterials have properties not readily observed in nature, such as the ability to help smoothly deflect microwave beams around an object. I quite honestly don't understand all the science - when I was reading about it I encountered several strings of words explaining metamaterials that left me dumbfounded, such as "the group velocity is antiparallel to phase velocity (as opposed to parallel for normal isotropic materials)." While that phrase makes me feel intellectually inadequate, it does not lessen my interest in the cloaking idea.

Watch a video about the "invisibility cloak" here.