Feeds

Sun: MoD has Bond/Potter/Klingon cloaking device

Boffin predicts invisible sheds on market in 5 years

Top three mobile application threats

The quality press is awash with invisible-tank stories this morning, as the Daily Mail, Telegraph, Ananova news wire et al pile into an exclusive scoop by the Sun.

It would seem that the Currant Bun scribes have spoken to a squaddie from the Royal Engineers, who claims to have been involved in trials last week featuring a (take your pick) James Bond Die Another Day Aston-Martin / Klingon Bird-of-Prey / Harry Potter's cloak -style tank which can become invisible.

The Sun's informant said:

“This technology is absolutely incredible. If I hadn’t been present I wouldn’t have believed it. [Thanks, that's very kind of you. Large one please, George.]

“I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees – but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun. [Thirsty work, as you can imagine. I'm actually still quite parched ... ah, cheers.]

“It’s huge fun working on this wizardry, though. We’re used to blowing things up – but making things disappear is pure magic. [Will that do? Great. Oh all right, twist my arm. Bottoms up. Hic. D'you know, I saw an invisible pair of trousers the other day ...]”

How the invisible shed might look in action.

The next step, of course, was to get some expert analysis. Cue Sir John Pendry, dubbed "the MoD's Q," for the occasion by the Mail, though he normally works at Imperial College. Sir John is well known to be an invisibility expert, as he has done theoretical work on "cloaking devices".

Sir John seemed happy to confirm that the MoD and Qinetiq might be fooling about with cameras and projectors for camouflage purposes, but - naturally enough - was keener to talk about his own research into metamaterials, which could provide a housing or cladding that rendered objects imperceptible to radar.

As for these latest revelations, “the drawback at the moment is the dependence upon cameras and projectors," he apparently told the Sun.

“The next stage is to make the tank invisible without them – which is intricate and complicated, but possible.”

Last year he was less sanguine, telling the Beeb:

"You go up to optical radiation - visible light - and ... your microstructure has to be a few tens of nanometres across ... we're only just learning how to do nanotechnology... maybe in five or 10 years' time you could do this ... You mustn't demand that the cloak be too thin. Despite the hype around Harry Potter, this isn't anything that flaps around in the breeze; it's more like a shed."

That sounds a bit more like British boffinry: an invisible shed. Many a harassed family man would like one of those.

But hey - let's say that the MoD and Qinetiq have put together a camera/projector visual camouflage system for tanks. Let's say it works while the tank is moving (it won't, but there).

What on earth's the point of that? Mr. Tank isn't going to be exactly impossible to find, what with the trail of torn-up/crushed landscape, the roaring engines, the huge thermal signature, the immense logistic support effort etc etc.

Still, maybe the kit's actually meant for some other application where it would be some use. Like an invisible shed.®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.