Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Science Technology

Invisible Cloaks, Translucent Walls 414

Posted by timothy
from the mithril-is-on-the-list dept.
jd writes "The University of Tokyo has developed the illusion of invisibility, under the name of 'Optical Camouflage.' The system is remarkably simple - you have a mix of light-sensitive and light-emitting devices attached to an adapted reflective surface. The devices are hooked to a computer, which simply projects on each side whatever is on the opposite side. The result is more of a translucent look, than real invisibility, but the potential is there. The inventer's next objective is to make walls that are invisible, using the same technology. Project a real outside image onto an interior wall without windows. This almost sounds more frightening than the cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors would have to be placed outside. Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there." Update: 06/15 00:20 GMT by T : You may remember we mentioned this project when it was cloak-only.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Invisible Cloaks, Translucent Walls

Comments Filter:
  • This sounds like it's the future of what our soldiers will be wearing. This combined with the movement enhancement devices could create soldiers who could run as fast as animals and be effectively invisible. No longer is this technology limited to sci-fi movies like "Preditor".

    Now if only there was a way to get around the infrared as well.
    • by Punchinello (303093) * on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:16PM (#9425298)
      I don't think soldiers will be wearing this technology any time soon. It requires an image to be project on the material. Doesn't seem practicle for a soldier running throught the forest. Now if you wanted to hide a stationary vehicle or plane this could be the ticket.
      • by vrmlknight (309019) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:21PM (#9425355) Homepage
        ... unless you looked at it from different angle.
      • pretty right. ordinary camoflauge is enough for a solider running through the woods. as it is damn near imposibble to track someone in all camo darting through heavy woods. If you are standing still, natural camo is probably better at this point, and gives you more protection if the do find out where you are(ie behind a rock, with bush on you)

        Now a tank on the other hand, its gonna be seen regardless how well camo painted it is. This might work nice, along with a good muffler.
        • What about an ordinary soldier running through an 'urban' jungle? Say downtown Los Angeles? In broad daylight, something like this might provide an 'edge' for the average foot soldier.

          More and more, we're seeing urban combat (a la Iraq).
      • by elberserko (758501) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:49PM (#9425602)
        I don't think soldiers will be wearing this technology any time soon.

        Especially since the army has already invested in their first uniform redesign in 23 years as announced today [cnn.com], and it should take 3 years for a transition. So if they go at the same rate, expect something like this in 25 years or so.
      • by baxissimo (135512) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:58PM (#9425666)
        It requires an image to be project on the material.

        Actually it's worse than that. It requires the image be projected from the onlooker's point of view. That's what they mean by HMP (==head-mounted projector) So for army dudes to use this, they'd have to actually run up to the enemy, and surreptitiously slap a projector on the head of each bad guy they wanted to hide from, then run back and go about their business of avoiding detection. There's probably a greater liklihood of success basing your military tactics on lethally funny jokes [jumpstation.ca].
        • by localman (111171) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:38PM (#9425958) Homepage
          True, in it's current form it's merely a cool demo. But I imagine one could design an LCD that projected a different image depending on the angle you viewed it from. Kind of like those ribbed plastics (can it, beavis) that show different parts of the image depending on the angle... and thus alow simple animation and 3-d looking objects through small movements.

          Of course, the image would also have to be grabbed from different angles... so we're talking a load of optics and processing and projecting. But I imagine it could be done in the next 25 years if someone wanted it badly enough.

          Cheers.
          • those ribbed plastics (can it, beavis) that show different parts of the image depending on the angle... and thus alow simple animation and 3-d looking objects through small movements.

            they are called lenticular devices or often "winkie" - see http://www.didik.com/3d_hist.htm

      • Now if only the romulans would let starfleet have the technology...
      • by cgenman (325138) on Monday June 14, 2004 @11:09PM (#9426504) Homepage
        Actually, they are already working on this in a way with planes. In order to prevent visual detection, the bottom of of the plane radiates light, so as to replace the light that it would normally block from the sky. (the tops of the planes are painted to resemble the ground). The same could be true of a soldier wearing this material... No matter what color you're wearing, in the desert during the day you pretty much block out the light. Add some additional luminescence of the proper color and viola! Slightly less visible.

    • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yodaNO@SPAMetoyoc.com> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:24PM (#9425381) Homepage Journal
      Well, no, you can't run with this stuff on. You would blur just like the Preditor. Probably worse than blur, as there is a transform equation that is run. You have to potential to flare out into interesting color patterns until it settles into a solid state if you step between two radically different backgrounds. (Red to Blue might accidentally take you through green, or flourescent purple.)

      The IR thing is more of a problem. Heck, we already have an excellent visible light stealth system. It's called DARK. All night vision systems track IR since it's generally around in abundence at night.

      You are also still a target on Radar, and probably Lidar as the system still reflects or absorbs high amplitude pulses of light differently that the background.

      You also run into interesting problems with lighting. If someone shines a spotlight on you, your shadow would still be dark, so you would stand out as a dark spot.

      There are undoubtedly computational ways around all that, but after a while your number cruncher is going to be more of an emmission signature than whatever you are hiding.

      • by dmaxwell (43234) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:38PM (#9425526)
        So what you're saying is that there is no use mucking about with all these reflectors, LEDs and computers. Just paint the guy pink and turn on a cheap and simple Somebody Else's Problem Field.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The point of camouflage isn't to make someone (or something) invisible. Its there to break the outline of the object so its difficult to tell what the object is, how far away, which direction they're going.

        This might not work at night against an army equipped with IR sensors, but in the daylight, on a hill, in a jungle or anywhere else you dont want your outline visible this will be effective.

        If it can be used to cloak ships, aircraft, etc. it will be a boon. Sure you can still be detected, but the elemen
        • Your point about cockpits is completely true. I'm surprised they haven't adapted a camera system to the bottom of the craft which would display on a screen in the cockpit (maybe they have actually, I don't know).

          Another example is how in Battlefield: 1942, NOBODY and I mean NOBODY flies with the cockpit on if they know how to turn it off.

          I fancy myself a pretty good pilot in that game, but its amazing how much you start to suck when the server has cockpit mode locked.

          Now, of course what would make this be

      • You have to potential to flare out into interesting color patterns until it settles into a solid state if you step between two radically different backgrounds.


        That's okay -- if the military won't buy it, the rave kiddies will.

    • Or.... (Score:5, Funny)

      by vwjeff (709903) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:13PM (#9425758)
      This sounds like it's the future of what our soldiers will be wearing.

      No, it sounds like what future peeping toms will be wearing.
  • DUPE! (kinda, sorta) (Score:5, Informative)

    by bluethundr (562578) * on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:12PM (#9425259) Homepage Journal
    Very cool story. Be even cooler if I hadn't seen it before. Right here. [slashdot.org] And it's a 'merican [optics.org] whose applied for the patent.

    The idea of an "invisibility cloak" has made the leap from science fiction books to an international patent application. Ray Alden of North Carolina is attempting to patent a "three dimensional cloaking process and apparatus" for concealing objects and people (WO 02/067196).
    • by nyteroot (311287) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:30PM (#9425431)
      Also, the submitter seems a little retarded..


      Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube.


      Sure: tv fitted in wall, hidden cameras in cubes.

    • this shouldn't have ever been mentioned in the first place. It's nowhere near usable no matter how much they develop it. there will always be other lights that ruin the image and the only practical uses (like the ones they mention: seeing an aircraft runway) can be accomplished using a normal camera and a normal monitor... Which is all this is! (with the exception of these "wonder beads" and a projector instead of a monitor). This is the type of stuff most of us nerds think up when we're 5 years old but
    • They were doing this kind of stuff [unc.edu] at UNC about 5 years ago when I was there. (US News recently ranked them first in Graphics) Still very cool though.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:13PM (#9425265)
    ...i can see right thru their work,,,
  • by BlueCup (753410) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:14PM (#9425278) Homepage Journal
    While the potential for having windows viewing into cubes is there, it seems like security cameras already do this.

    No, I think the positives for this could far outway the negatives. Just think about how great it would be to have a window view of the outside world, even though you're in the middle of the building... sure, it's something that could be done with a monitor, but this sounds like it would give it a more real effect...

    ... cost however would probably keep this from changing anything.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      And what if you happen to live in Akron? Wouldn't it be BETTER to just have a video display of Hawaii scenery than a "transparent" wall to the genuine outside view from your building?
    • Cost? Since when has cost versus relative perfomance ever entered the minds of people. Just look at the productivity benefits of the paperless office. Computers generate more paper, and what you used to spend on people to file the paper you now spend on licenses for software that doesn't.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Oh, to be able to get women's clothes to become invisible at will!...
    • Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy.

      Yeah, it would be very similar to a world full of ads for X-10 cameras and high availibility of office security cameras. I wouldn't want to live in a world like that. I mean ... riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

  • by Cat9117600 (627358) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:14PM (#9425281) Homepage
    Almost as good as glass walls for watching birds fly into it!
  • by philoticjane (771475) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:14PM (#9425284)
    the story of the emperor's new clothes is not going to make any sense at all to our children.
  • So when (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ossadagowah (452169) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:15PM (#9425286) Journal
    do we get the Infinite Ammo Bandana and
    Soliton Radar System to go with it?
  • by J. T. MacLeod (111094) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:16PM (#9425296)
    Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there."

    This technology opens us up to all sorts of new privacy abuses--oh, wait, no it doesn't. We've had cameras for years. It's the display that's new.

    Wow, my last two posts have been bitter. I suppose Slashdot has finally rubbed off on me.
  • porno....
  • Locker Room (Score:5, Funny)

    by cybermint (255744) * on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:16PM (#9425301)
    Finally I'll be able to get into the women's locker room undetected!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:17PM (#9425310)
    An activity for two people called sex has been demonstrated by researchers from the University of Phoenix; almost immediately, the ACLU denounced the practice as invasive to privacy. "Somebody can just carry off your DNA, which contains everything about you, and do who knows what with it," stated an unidentified ACLU spokesman. Meanwhile, dork website Slashdot recommended using a version of sex modified for one person.
  • No. not really (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moosesocks (264553) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:18PM (#9425319) Homepage
    This works great until you get into three dimensions at which point it all goes sour.

    Because light's reflecting off of the coat itself. Plus, the shape of the cloak is not symetrical. I just don't see how it even works. Sure, I could imagine something like a sheet of paper partially working.

    As for see-thru wall, it's probably a lot easier then this guy wants it to be...

    Just make the wall itself clear. Then use an lcd-like mechanism to act as a 'shutter', allowing the outside light in. Note that each 'pixel' could be quite large (several inches).

    In other words, when the wall's off, it's opaque. When current's applied to a section, the liquid inside the wall becomes clear and the wall is see-through. Not sure if the technology's there yet, though....
    • Re:No. not really (Score:2, Informative)

      by WarriorPoet42 (762455)
      First, what you speak of already exists. They are called either automatic or active windows. However they wouldn't work to well for walls because LCD exists in two states. Black and transparent. I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of a black wall. A heavily shaded window is okay, but a black wall is horrid!
    • Re:No. not really (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:31PM (#9425442)
      In other words, when the wall's off, it's opaque. When current's applied to a section, the liquid inside the wall becomes clear and the wall is see-through. Not sure if the technology's there yet, though....

      Yeah, it has been around for quite some time, here is just one of many articles on it: Smart Glass [glassonweb.com]

      One of my client's has their entire NOC done up with this kind of glass. Just one of the excesses of the dot-com era.

      This stuff ain't cheap, but there is even more expensive versions that go black instead of translucent white (and default to clear when there is no current). I desperately want some of that for my car's windows. Alas it is so expensive that the people selling it don't even talk to small fry like I.
    • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:32PM (#9425463) Homepage
      As for see-thru wall, it's probably a lot easier then this guy wants it to be...

      I've got one... it's called a *window*

      In other words, when the wall's off, it's opaque

      Yup, got one of those too... it's called a *window blind*.

      Not sure if the technology's there yet, though.... :)
    • Welding helmets (Score:3, Interesting)

      by atrader42 (687933)
      I've used welding helmets very much like you describe. They're triggered by very bright light to become extremely (you can only see the arc) dark. As soon as you turn the welder off, the helmet goes clear (well, actually, green). My impression is that this isn't too novel.
  • by damieng (230610) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:18PM (#9425326) Homepage Journal
    quickly discarded it because it would fail as soon as the observer moved or looked at it from a slight angle - the problem being of course the system has no way of knowing where a viewer might be to correctly map the 'camera' to the right 'display cell'.

    • There was this old sci-fi book that had something similar, but it actually moved the various particles themselves out to the other side, depending on their angle of impact.
    • Yeah... they describe that currently you need to look through a particular fixed lens/pinhole that everything is calibrated towards.

      It seems that only the reflective material he uses is really something new.

      Somewhere on my shelf of old notebooks I have a number of pages involved with trying to figure out ways to make this sort of thing work in 3D. It's quite difficult, even if you limit yourself to flat planes... my best plan involved complicated little lenses over each pixel (which was really an entire a
    • Just thinking aloud here, but couldn't the LED be a polygon with many, many tiny sides with varying degrees of light emitting on each side? /--\
      | |
      ------
    • yes, you're right of course, which is why all of this research is so unimpressive and it's a bit frustrating that it's getting so much press.

      I think it should be theoretically possible to do, though. You'd need a pretty fancy material that could produce an arbitrary wavefront at arbitrary viewing angles (something holographic and dynamic).
      • by EvilTwinSkippy (112490) <yodaNO@SPAMetoyoc.com> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:47PM (#9425592) Homepage Journal
        You can fake holography with the right transform equations. The trick is knowing enough about the sensor you are trying to fool to come up with the reference waveform, and having a pixel density enough to not set off aliasing.

        If you've ever seen the Marine's new camo, it does this already. The pattern printed on the uniform is so dense and ambigious that the seem to blend into office walls or rocks. It's not that the suit is generating anything wierd, it's that your eye can't pick up any particular shape.

        It's the optical equivilent of chaffing a radar.

  • by gdavidp (709900) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:18PM (#9425330) Homepage
    Interesting, this stuff belongs in the internal areas of cars in the so-called blind spots. Probably needs to improve upon the resolution a bit though. Kind of like wearing a digital CCD/CMOS.
  • Lighting up optical elements is the simple bit. Deciding what to show is the hard bit. To do this you need to know where the observer is standing and what they are looking at. If you have two or more observers then how do you decide which image to show?
  • Old News (Score:3, Informative)

    by douthat (568842) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:20PM (#9425352)
    I remeber reading about this in last year's "Coolest Inventions of 2003" located here [time.com] Further investigation has also found that a guy registered a pantent for the same tech back in 2002 [optics.org] From the article:
    The idea hinges on carefully mimicking background lighting conditions to help render an object invisible, similar to how a chameleon blends in with its surroundings. The rear and front surfaces of an object are covered with a material containing an array of photodetectors and light emitters respectively.

    The photodetectors on the rear surface are used to record the intensity and color of a source of illumination behind the object. The light emitters on the front surface then generate light beams that exactly mimic the same measured intensity, color and trajectory. The result is that an observer looking at the front of the object appears to see straight through it.
    and another 2003 article from Wired [wired.com]
  • by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:20PM (#9425353) Homepage
    The key development of the cloak, however, was the development of a new material called retro-reflectum.

    Anyone else think "retro-reflectum" sounds like some harry potter spell?
  • Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube.


    Why spend all that money when you ccould simply eliminate cubical walls altogether?


    Oh, I forgot...the "Open Office Plan" has already been invented.

  • > This almost sounds more frightening than the
    > cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors
    > would have to be placed outside. Imagine a world
    > where PHBs can turn their office wall into a
    > window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology
    > is great, but the potential for abuse is
    > definitely there."

    On the other hand if you get your head out of your FUD, you can think of a lot of cool things to do with this.
  • I remember this about 2 years ago...has anything changed since then?
  • In low light conditions. Of course, all it will take is the first geek to find a relatively quiet and dark corner of the girl's locker room to get this technology effectively banned.
  • Someone is always freaking out about potential abuses. If your boss wants to see what you do in private, there is nothing stopping him but the ethics committee at your company. He could already have a camera hidden behind a vent cover, aimed at your little cubicle. This technology has nothing to do with your privacy or paranoia. There are plenty of technologies around that can potentially be abused by people who wish to do you harm. Take the high power rifle for example. I can see much potential for abuse t
  • This [optics.org] seems even more practical.
    • Holy crumb. That is revolutionary. Natural light without having to sacrifice structural stability or privacy. (The glass fiber stronger than the limestone it displaces.)

      I just wonder how much it costs.

  • There are some fantastic movies. Don't want to kill their server so I've set up a mirror here [berniecode.com] and the original page is at http://projects.star.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp/projects/MEDI A/xv/oc.html.

    Bernie :o)
  • a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there.

    Only on Slashdot can the poster mention a completely ridiculous privacy abuse issue, while missing the point that an invisibility cloak could be used for theft.

    It was even in the article!

  • If you want to visually spy on people, you can just use miniature cameras which are available today. No need for funky walls that copy one side to the other. You can hide these cameras in conventional surroundings.

    Heck, we already have devices that allow light to pass through in one direction, but not in the other (or very little).

    They are called one-way mirrors!

    You could be put into a box made of one-way mirrors pointed toward you, and there is your no-privacy cube.

    Man, people and their silly reactions
  • I don't know whether it works with moving pictures or not, but it seems to me that the projection system is the best part of this. Fancy a shirt that can change colours? Shop mannequins that take a picture of your face and show you wearing their clothes? Advertising on the back of your coat?

    Well actually, no I don't, but I'm sure this type of technology can be used in novel ways that might be good. A red hat that runs a Linux display maybe?

  • Like PHBs need material like this to look in peoples' cubes. Cameras would be SO much better for that anyway, I bet.

    I don't see potential for privacy abuse here. I see possible potential for abuse by criminals using this gear, though I doubt cops will really be hindred by a guy wearing a 'cloaking anorak.' or such. I can definitely see the government geting antsy about this tech simply because they would. But outside of that, this isn't going to let a random pickpocket lift off the wallets of everyone
  • by sakusha (441986) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:37PM (#9425522)
    There is one obvious problem with the "invisibility cloak" that nobody has mentioned. In fact, the demonstrations of the device take advantage of the flaw and use it to make the device look like it will work.

    The problem is, this device will make you "invisible" only to ONE PERSON. Or more correctly, the image projected on the cloak will only work for one point of view. So when the device is demoed to a camera, the camera is placed at the spot where the illusion works. If you place another camera 10 feet to the left, it would show that the image doesn't match the background, so the illusion of "invisibility" doesn't work. It's a parallax thing.

    So everyone just knock of the stupid theorizing about how this is going to be battlefield camoflauge, it just isn't going to happen. It might be useful for limited circumstances, for a single viewer, for example, a surgeon might be able to see a computer-graphic overlay of the surgical operating field right through his hands. But it's not going to be a magic invisibility cloak.
  • Hoax (Score:2, Interesting)

    by emarkp (67813)
    So it's clear to everyone that this is a hoax, right? It's physically impossible. The videos show moving objects against an unmoving background, and the effect is clearly achieved through bluescreening.

    Otherwise, how would a block in front of you [u-tokyo.ac.jp] show the static background behind you.

    Or more ludicrously, how would a block in front of you show your skeleton? Especially when the skeleton doesn't move with your motions?

    Please, we've had bluescreen technology for decades. And we've even upgraded to gr

  • by azav (469988) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:42PM (#9425564) Homepage Journal
    At the San Francisco Wired Tech fest, the coat was demoed and to be honest, it didn't appear (to me) to work very well.

    I'm sure it is in its infancy but you've got to be looking at the subject DEAD ON and with perfect lighting.

    This is one technology that looks much better in photos than it does in real life.

  • Ghost in the Shell (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Hecatonchires (231908) on Monday June 14, 2004 @08:51PM (#9425615) Homepage
    The article mentions Shirow under the references section! Wow. Using whats in GitS as a base, how long till it becomes thermoptic-camo, masking the ir and thermal signtaure as well?

  • by roadrash608 (542600) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:01PM (#9425683)
    At least for real 'invisibility'. I saw it in person at NextFest in San Francisco. It's a neat gimmick, but you're only *invisible* if your enemy is carrying a video projector and a video camera and projecting camouflage onto you. On the other hand you could watch TV on J.Lo's butt. Now that's useful.
  • Good grief (Score:5, Funny)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:02PM (#9425696)

    Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy.

    I cannot believe that's your biggest worry.

    Dude, if you're spending so much time on Slashdot that your PHB has to put a half a billion dollars worth of tech in your cube just to get an honest day's work outta you, then you have some serious issues.

    Just do your job, man. And then your PHB won't have to have an entire Romulan Warbird keep a friggin eye on you.

    Weaselmancer

  • by v1 (525388) on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:48PM (#9426018) Homepage Journal
    By my take on the diagram of how it works, the system requires itself to have a static copy of the background to be mimmiced. In all the demos, you never see the camera move, because that would change the background that is being mimmiced, and would probably give the hardware an aneurism trying to keep up with the updates. They most likely had to take a shot of the background before the demonstrator and his "stealth object" came into view, to use for the projection part of the process. That, and they're probably using a visual comparison system to determine how to mask off the projector so it doesn't project light of any sort anywhere except where the cloaked item is.

    This means it's not really possible to cloak something that's in front of a changing backdrop, at least not with this implementation of the technology.
  • by merlin_jim (302773) <James DOT McCrac ... ratapult DOT com> on Monday June 14, 2004 @09:52PM (#9426043)
    almost sounds more frightening than the cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors would have to be placed outside.

    Everyone is talking like he's got some brand new technology here or something.

    It's just a camera and a video projector. With a cloak or wall made out of some highly reflective material. That's it. You have to setup the camera ahead of time, and setup the video projector ahead of time. You have to have power to run it all. You have to stand in exactly the right spot, and it only works as an invisibility cloak if the other guy is standing near line of sight with the projector. Which is itself obviously pretty visible.

    Before this guy put all this stuff together, bosses were putting cameras in the workplace. This "innovation" (and believe me I use the term loosely) doesn't really add anything to that equation.
  • oh, give it a rest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by glwtta (532858) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:02PM (#9426090) Homepage
    Zero privacy. The technology is great, but the potential for abuse is definitely there.

    Video cameras - fucking video cameras we've had for decades - have the same "potential for abuse," the same ability to usher in a new zero-privacy, post-apocalyptic distopian future.

    Every new technology of any substance whatsoever has the "potential" for some kind of abuse, guess we'll have to live in fear for the rest of our lives.

  • by rice_burners_suck (243660) on Monday June 14, 2004 @10:15PM (#9426180)
    This almost sounds more frightening than the cloak, since there's no reason why the sensors would have to be placed outside. Imagine a world where PHBs can turn their office wall into a window onto any cube. Zero privacy.

    Holy Schitt, you might be right... I heard of this evil technology that's available right now, as we speak, to PHBs, the CIA, and other evil entities. It permits them to see things located in another place, live, or they can store the collected images as a motion picture of sorts and refer back to it later. This evil invention is called the video camera, and I have a feeling that these things will soon pop up all over the place. Zero privacy. Oh well.

  • Parallax? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bohnanza (523456) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @08:12AM (#9428299)
    I don't see how this system can truly display a 3D image. The author claims to use a magical new substance called "retro-reflectum". Sounds like hocus-pocus to me. If they have truly developed a 3D display, THAT'S the big news...

    If it's not 3D, and does not shift the view with the movements of the viewer, it doesn't work.

  • Two flaws. (Score:4, Funny)

    by mrjb (547783) on Tuesday June 15, 2004 @09:00AM (#9428565)
    First, it uses by projecting light onto something. So it doesn't work at night. Second, looking at the cloak, there's still shadows and all. And now they want to apply the same technology to make invisible walls? They'll have a tough job beating the ancient technology called 'glass'.

    Reminds me of the old joke:
    Q: What do you call a device to listen to the heart?
    A: A stethoscope.
    Q: What do you call a device to see far?
    A: A telescope.
    Q: What do you call a device to see very small things?
    A: A microscope.
    Q: What do you call a device that allows you to see through walls?
    A: A window.

"It is better to have tried and failed than to have failed to try, but the result's the same." - Mike Dennison

Working...