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Thread: Invisibility cloak idea

  1. #1 Invisibility cloak idea 
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    I'm not sure if this would go in this category but here it goes. I was sitting at my desk arranging prisms and lasers in different orders to make designs and what not and noticed that the prism placed in front of my cell phone made the phone seem invisible. Would it be possible to create an "invisibility" cloak made of thousands of carefully arranged, tiny prisms? My reasoning behind this is that they bend light, not reflect it.


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    in theory, yes, but with only one functional problem that no one seems to ever address. How do you see out from inside of it?


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  4. #3 Re: Invisibility cloak idea 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    I'm not sure if this would go in this category but here it goes. I was sitting at my desk arranging prisms and lasers in different orders to make designs and what not and noticed that the prism placed in front of my cell phone made the phone seem invisible. Would it be possible to create an "invisibility" cloak made of thousands of carefully arranged, tiny prisms? My reasoning behind this is that they bend light, not reflect it.
    Prisms also reflect light. How much depends on the angle of incidence. There is this thing called partial reflection that you don't usually get in an introductory treatment of geometrical optics.

    But you can see a diamond and you can see a chandelier. You can even see lenses with anti-reflection coatings.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_equations
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    in theory, yes, but with only one functional problem that no one seems to ever address. How do you see out from inside of it?
    Well I thought of another system for one, highly impractical and nearly impossible to achieve but, it would probably work. Take thousands of small screens and even smaller cameras and arrange them on opposite sides of the cloak so that they would take in the image on one camera and display it on the corresponding screen. It would not work well in an open or urban environment but in a forest or jungle it would work like an active camouflage that changes but doesn't completely hide the wearer. It would be so ridiculously heavy though, due to batteries and all the wiring needed, that you'd need some type of support system like an exoskeleton under it. I know this one is nearly impossible but it would work if the technology existed, I think.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    in theory, yes, but with only one functional problem that no one seems to ever address. How do you see out from inside of it?
    Well I thought of another system for one, highly impractical and nearly impossible to achieve but, it would probably work. Take thousands of small screens and even smaller cameras and arrange them on opposite sides of the cloak so that they would take in the image on one camera and display it on the corresponding screen. It would not work well in an open or urban environment but in a forest or jungle it would work like an active camouflage that changes but doesn't completely hide the wearer. It would be so ridiculously heavy though, due to batteries and all the wiring needed, that you'd need some type of support system like an exoskeleton under it. I know this one is nearly impossible but it would work if the technology existed, I think.

    I thought of this one a very long time ago and it's definately the simplist and most obvious of 'invisibility cloaks' and will undoubtably become reality as soon as technology becomes advanced enough

    for the first idea, I'm not very clued up in tbe whole prisms and bending of light, but doesn't that thing work only from a specific angle, your mobile was only invisible from your position, if you moved slightly it would become visible? if this is the case then I imagine the same flaw fits with a cloak made of them, no matter how small, they would only work from a certain angle
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    Quote Originally Posted by Arcane_Mathematician
    in theory, yes, but with only one functional problem that no one seems to ever address. How do you see out from inside of it?
    Well I thought of another system for one, highly impractical and nearly impossible to achieve but, it would probably work. Take thousands of small screens and even smaller cameras and arrange them on opposite sides of the cloak so that they would take in the image on one camera and display it on the corresponding screen. It would not work well in an open or urban environment but in a forest or jungle it would work like an active camouflage that changes but doesn't completely hide the wearer. It would be so ridiculously heavy though, due to batteries and all the wiring needed, that you'd need some type of support system like an exoskeleton under it. I know this one is nearly impossible but it would work if the technology existed, I think.
    What you are describing is called "active camouflage", and there are plenty of people already working on it.
    "Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feelings for the strength of their argument.
    The heated mind resents the chill touch & relentless scrutiny of logic"-W.E. Gladstone


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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booms

    for the first idea, I'm not very clued up in tbe whole prisms and bending of light, but doesn't that thing work only from a specific angle, your mobile was only invisible from your position, if you moved slightly it would become visible? if this is the case then I imagine the same flaw fits with a cloak made of them, no matter how small, they would only work from a certain angle
    You know, though, sometimes invisibility from just one angle is enough. If you know where the observer is, anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Booms

    for the first idea, I'm not very clued up in tbe whole prisms and bending of light, but doesn't that thing work only from a specific angle, your mobile was only invisible from your position, if you moved slightly it would become visible? if this is the case then I imagine the same flaw fits with a cloak made of them, no matter how small, they would only work from a certain angle
    You know, though, sometimes invisibility from just one angle is enough. If you know where the observer is, anyway.
    Thats true, and the prisms would still partially camouflage you. If used in a dense forest or in a jungle the prisms would work well from multiple angles wouldn't they? It wouldn't be total invisibility but then again nothing really is, unless you believe in the alleged project rainbow.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Booms

    for the first idea, I'm not very clued up in tbe whole prisms and bending of light, but doesn't that thing work only from a specific angle, your mobile was only invisible from your position, if you moved slightly it would become visible? if this is the case then I imagine the same flaw fits with a cloak made of them, no matter how small, they would only work from a certain angle
    You know, though, sometimes invisibility from just one angle is enough. If you know where the observer is, anyway.
    Thats true, and the prisms would still partially camouflage you. If used in a dense forest or in a jungle the prisms would work well from multiple angles wouldn't they? It wouldn't be total invisibility but then again nothing really is, unless you believe in the alleged project rainbow.
    Let's try it. You dress up in diamonds and I'll use standard militarry camoflage fatigues. Then we'lll have a paint ball fight. You will look like a rainbow in pretty short order.
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    Reminds me of the Family Guy episode where Peter says, "sometimes it's good not to fit in..."

    Cut to a scene of soldiers running through the jungle in the Vietnam war. Peter, dressed in a clown suit, is following behind.

    "See, you guys are stupid. They'll be looking for guys dressed as soldiers."
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Booms

    for the first idea, I'm not very clued up in tbe whole prisms and bending of light, but doesn't that thing work only from a specific angle, your mobile was only invisible from your position, if you moved slightly it would become visible? if this is the case then I imagine the same flaw fits with a cloak made of them, no matter how small, they would only work from a certain angle
    You know, though, sometimes invisibility from just one angle is enough. If you know where the observer is, anyway.
    Thats true, and the prisms would still partially camouflage you. If used in a dense forest or in a jungle the prisms would work well from multiple angles wouldn't they? It wouldn't be total invisibility but then again nothing really is, unless you believe in the alleged project rainbow.
    Let's try it. You dress up in diamonds and I'll use standard militarry camoflage fatigues. Then we'lll have a paint ball fight. You will look like a rainbow in pretty short order.
    Suppose you're trying to infiltrate a tightly guarded compound, and you know where the guard is standing.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    Suppose you're trying to infiltrate a tightly guarded compound, and you know where the guard is standing.
    I'll use my ordinary camoflage and some stealth and either sneak past him or take him out.

    I know guys who do this for a living. They don't use prisms. They do use silenced weapons and knives. They are called SEALS and I am very glad that they are on our side.

    How about this. Suppose I am tryiing to get closer to an elk or a deer. Same answer, and they have pretty good senses.

    BTW with prisms you had better be very careful or you will envelop yourself in corner reflectors. In that case you would stand out like a flare with night vision devices.
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  14. #13  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    Suppose you're trying to infiltrate a tightly guarded compound, and you know where the guard is standing.
    I'll use my ordinary camoflage and some stealth and either sneak past him or take him out.

    I know guys who do this for a living. They don't use prisms. They do use silenced weapons and knives. They are called SEALS and I am very glad that they are on our side.

    How about this. Suppose I am tryiing to get closer to an elk or a deer. Same answer, and they have pretty good senses.

    BTW with prisms you had better be very careful or you will envelop yourself in corner reflectors. In that case you would stand out like a flare with night vision devices.
    Ok, suppose you're trying to bypass a video camera.

    My point is that a tool doesn't have to be useful in absolutely every situation in order to be useful. It's really hard to loosen a lug nut with a screw driver (wrenches are better for that), but I still keep a screw driver in my toolbox.
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    Thank you Kojax that's the point I've been trying to make and DrRocket, you don't have to criticize me, I'm fully aware it wouldn't work in every situation but as I've said before, in a jungle or densely wooded environment, I can't see it being terrible due to low light and rather consistent surroundings. and you're point about sneeking up on a deer or elk, they have poor vision and rely on hearing mainly to detect predators so I doubt any camo would help you slash a deer's throat. The seals are stealthy but imagine them with invisibility. I came up with this idea as just that an idea. I'm sorry you're so close minded to new ideas DrRocket, and that you cant build off of them but to those of you who replied without criticizing me, thank you.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    Thank you Kojax that's the point I've been trying to make and DrRocket, you don't have to criticize me, I'm fully aware it wouldn't work in every situation but as I've said before, in a jungle or densely wooded environment, I can't see it being terrible due to low light and rather consistent surroundings. and you're point about sneeking up on a deer or elk, they have poor vision and rely on hearing mainly to detect predators so I doubt any camo would help you slash a deer's throat. The seals are stealthy but imagine them with invisibility. I came up with this idea as just that an idea. I'm sorry you're so close minded to new ideas DrRocket, and that you cant build off of them but to those of you who replied without criticizing me, thank you.
    You seem to be unable to differentiate closed-mindedness from simply an ability to recognize technical shortcomings with a idea. You don't actually want criticism, you want praise.

    Sorry, that won't work.

    A personal attack ("losed-mnded") on those who recognize a hair-brained idea does not endow you with vision, or even technical competence.
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    well, I don't want to start a flame war but I would like to say that criticism is good but when you say something like

    "I'll use my ordinary camoflage and some stealth and either sneak past him or take him out.

    I know guys who do this for a living. They don't use prisms. They do use silenced weapons and knives. They are called SEALS and I am very glad that they are on our side.

    How about this. Suppose I am tryiing to get closer to an elk or a deer. Same answer, and they have pretty good senses."

    OR

    "Let's try it. You dress up in diamonds and I'll use standard militarry camoflage fatigues. Then we'lll have a paint ball fight. You will look like a rainbow in pretty short order."

    that makes me think you don't get what I'm saying, and to me that sounds like negative criticism where you basically insult me by pointing out the flaws instead of just saying something like, "the prisms wouldn't reflect the light correctly" or "this wouldn't work" and state a reason. Instead you choose to ignore the fact that I say this wouldn't work in an
    open environment however, I can't see this completely failing in a wooded environment. Also, I know that the prisms would have to be arranged carefully and being on a human which moves the prisms would also move. It seems to me that what you are saying is that standard military camo and stealth tactics is the solution to everything. While those work great for the time being, when science discovers an invisible (light bending) material and makes it into an "invisibility cloak" that "cloak" will be better than even the best of stealth techniques. At this point I accept that this wouldn't work. I like how you ignored my other idea completely though.
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish95
    well, I don't want to start a flame war but I would like to say that criticism is good but when you say something like

    "I'll use my ordinary camoflage and some stealth and either sneak past him or take him out.

    I know guys who do this for a living. They don't use prisms. They do use silenced weapons and knives. They are called SEALS and I am very glad that they are on our side.

    How about this. Suppose I am tryiing to get closer to an elk or a deer. Same answer, and they have pretty good senses."

    OR

    "Let's try it. You dress up in diamonds and I'll use standard militarry camoflage fatigues. Then we'lll have a paint ball fight. You will look like a rainbow in pretty short order."

    that makes me think you don't get what I'm saying, and to me that sounds like negative criticism where you basically insult me by pointing out the flaws instead of just saying something like, "the prisms wouldn't reflect the light correctly" or "this wouldn't work" and state a reason. Instead you choose to ignore the fact that I say this wouldn't work in an
    open environment however, I can't see this completely failing in a wooded environment. Also, I know that the prisms would have to be arranged carefully and being on a human which moves the prisms would also move. It seems to me that what you are saying is that standard military camo and stealth tactics is the solution to everything. While those work great for the time being, when science discovers an invisible (light bending) material and makes it into an "invisibility cloak" that "cloak" will be better than even the best of stealth techniques. At this point I accept that this wouldn't work. I like how you ignored my other idea completely though.
    This is a physics forum, not a fantasy forum.

    Of course invisibility would be nice. But you have NO useable ideas on how to achieve it.

    I did not say that standard camoflage is the "solution to everything". I said it is far more effective than your notion of using a bunch of prisms, which won't work. Not even close.
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    I think you might just be thinking on a scale too small with your "cloak" idea. It would be better suited for larger, tougher objects which are more difficult to camo. For instance the sides of a hummer. Would work much better for the visible light spectrum, wouldn't require thousands of small ones, and it's relatively stationary so you can depict the viewing angle of the observer.
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    I been looking up to Michio Kaku lectures and he says that Light can bend around an Object due to the impurities that it contains..... ok maybe that part i can understand that light will reflect out of the object but what i dont understand is th e fact that the light apperently goes around the object and reforms in the other end like a river that passes through a stone and reforms at the other end but i dont thing this anology is very correct can someone please explain this fenomenon?
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    You only see an object because of the light that reflects back off of it, if you can bend light around something, bend light backwards, The object won't reflect any light and therefore won't be visible.
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    so if we got lots of optic fibres and arranged them in a suit so that the fibres bent around the body, we would get an invisible person from the front?
    It's not how many questions you ask, but the answers you get - Booms

    This is the Acadamy of Science! we don't need to 'prove' anything!
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    i would have to say that teleportation would be the key. you would be able to bypass anything and anyone and get out of the way of anything. or on a side note teleport the light to the other side of you. jumper was a great movie. i also thought of a hat that had radar in it. if a moving object moved towards you the hat would poke you in the head on the side they were coming from. the faster it prodded you the closer they are. no one could sneak up on you.
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    even better. come up with a material that absorbs all light. the only reason we see it is because the light is bouncing back
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  25. #24  
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravityguru
    even better. come up with a material that absorbs all light. the only reason we see it is because the light is bouncing back
    This would only produce a black object which would stick out like a sore thumb unless its surroundings where also black.
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  26. #25  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    so if we got lots of optic fibres and arranged them in a suit so that the fibres bent around the body, we would get an invisible person from the front?
    as stated previously in this thread, this and similar ideas are being pursued in many labs.
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  27. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRocket
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax

    Suppose you're trying to infiltrate a tightly guarded compound, and you know where the guard is standing.
    I'll use my ordinary camoflage and some stealth and either sneak past him or take him out.

    I know guys who do this for a living. They don't use prisms. They do use silenced weapons and knives. They are called SEALS and I am very glad that they are on our side.

    How about this. Suppose I am tryiing to get closer to an elk or a deer. Same answer, and they have pretty good senses.

    BTW with prisms you had better be very careful or you will envelop yourself in corner reflectors. In that case you would stand out like a flare with night vision devices.
    The advantage I'm thinking of with the prisms if they worked would be urban situations where there is simply nothing to hide behind. Even in a very well lit area, with a guard standing in plain sight, you could point your prisms at him and walk right by.

    That is... if they worked. I'm pretty sure there'd be at least a small reflection or glare.
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