The Invisibility Cloak Approaches: Nothing to See Here…

The dark art of cloaking may just have been perfected and tested before our very eyes without us even noticing, a good sign for the technology. The art of performing magic with photons has advanced incredibly quickly over recent years, shifting from illusion to incredible quantum technology.

Two competing approaches to cloaking are fighting to hide the visible from the world; Active and Quantum technologies are going to war, a war that we may not even be able to see.

Presented for your viewing pleasure are the most incredible videos of things that may or may not actually be there. More precisely we have included 2 videos that demonstrate the amazing developments in the field, along with one video that appears to show the use of cloaking technology during the Iraq war. Sit back, relax and remember never to believe your own eyes.

There are two main approaches currently being taken to perfect cloaking technology; Active technology uses brute force techniques that involve capturing light and re-transmitting more light out of the opposite side of the object. In the process replicating what the eye of the observer is expecting to see if the object wasn’t there, a type of illusion. The second technique is the true high tech approach that uses quantum physics to convince photons / radiation to move around an object instead of bouncing off it, rendering the object completely invisible.

Officially according to the scientific community there is no actual complete working cloaking system available at the moment. That being said there is evidence that the military may be a long way into development of both types of cloaking technologies.

The first video demonstrates what appears to be an example of a fully functional active cloaking suite. If you jump to 1:11 into the video you can watch one very interesting piece of evidence. The video shot during the Iraq war shows what appears to be an American soldier who is completely cloaked until he approaches a nearby M1 tank. Here at Highpants we suspect it is achieved using thousands of light sensors and OLED light sources built into the soldier’s suite.

Active cloak by Dr Susumi Tachi
Active cloak by Dr Susumi Tachi

The most recent official development of the active technology came from Japanese professor Dr Susumi Tachi of Keio University. Using a coat covered in microscopic 50nm glass beads that transmit light back directly at the viewer along with a camera and projector to form the illusion. While the setup isn’t really practical for use in the field, the camera must be on the far side of the object while the projector is on the viewing side; it is however a spectacular demonstration of the principle.

The quantum based cloaking technology makes use of meta-material with nano sized patters etched into their surface. The patterns fool light and other types of radiation into going around an object instead of bouncing off it. Currently the most research into this technique is only able to work with very narrow bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, generally microwaves.

Quantumstealth technology.
Quantumstealth technology.

One of the leading developers of this black art is the military contractor HyperStealth and their QuantumStealth technology. The technology was demonstrated last year during an interview by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. This technology is the ultimate in current cloaking technology. Guy Cramer, CEO of Hyperstealth was very upbeat about his company’s technology and its ability to save the lives of soldiers.

One of the best ways to identify the technology used for the type of cloaking is evident in the shadows. Cloaking by retransmitting light has no effects on the shadows of the object being cloaked, while quantum cloaks will be shadow free.

Yet another science fiction fantasy is approaching rapidly, the advancements in quantum technology are quickly making the impossible possible, and the visible invisible.

Reference: Alcalde: Invisibility cloaks aren’t just for Harry Potter anymore.
Reference: Hyperstealth