Feeds

German boffins produce sim of 'invisibility carpet' in action

Don't try sweeping anything important under this

Seven Steps to Software Security

Remorseless German boffins have developed a simulator which can show how so-called "invisibility carpets" fashioned of metamaterials (in fact more likely to appear in the form of invisible sheds, according to top boffins) would actually appear to the human eye. According to the simulation, the invisible sheds would produce curious ripples and distortions, fairly easily spotted.

How an invisible bump in a floor might look. Credit: KIT

The attempt to sweep everything under the invisibility carpet wasn't terribly successful.

"It's important to visualize how an optical device works," explains Jad C Halimeh, who wrote the software as part of his Master of Science thesis at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Details of the new KIT kit have been published in a scholarly paper, but the actual code hasn't been released yet.

Apparently the standard software that scientists and engineers use to simulate light in a room only allows for a few hundred "volume elements" interacting with the lighting. Halimeh says that to accurately work out the effects of visual-wavelength broadband metamaterials you need hundreds of thousands of elements, which his tech has got.

One should note that nobody has made a metamaterial able to affect visible-light wavelengths, far less a broadband one able to twist all the frequencies the human eye can see. Prof John Pendry, one of the top boffins in the field, has said that advances in nanotechnology might one day make such things possible - but that it won't be a "cloak" as such.

"Despite the hype around Harry Potter, this isn't anything that flaps around in the breeze," the prof has said. "It's more like a shed."

Meanwhile Halimeh and his KIT colleagues, wanting to demonstrate their program, rendered a virtual museum niche with three walls, a ceiling, and a floor. In the middle of the room, there's a bump in the floor - but it's covered in metamaterial invisible-shed cladding (the KIT people prefer to speak of invisibility "carpet") which in theory ought to make an observer see nothing but a flat reflecting floor. However, according to the simulation, this is actually far from the case.

It would seem that in addition to not really being possible, the invisibility cloak/shed/carpet is also fairly crap. The paper, Photorealistic images of carpet cloaks, can be read here (pdf). ®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.