posted on Jun, 13 2004 @ 04:02 AM
According to The Guardian, Japanese scientists have turned fantasy into reality by creating an invisibility cloak that makes it possible to see
straight through its wearer. He, or she, simply vanishes from view.
The garment - demonstrated last week at Nextfest, an exhibition of emerging technologies in San Francisco - is the work of Japanese inventor Susumu
Tachi, a professor of computer science and physics at the University of Tokyo. 'It's a kind of augmented reality,' he said of his device.
In reality, the 'optical camouflage' cloak is anything but invisible. It is made up of 'retro-reflective material' coated with tiny
light-reflective beads that cover its entire length. The cloak is also fitted with cameras that project what is at the back of the wearer on to the
front, and vice versa. The effect, as the Japanese team demonstrated last week, is to make the wearer blend with his background.
The material was used to coat a ball, a brick and a cloak. In each case, it appeared as if the viewer could see through each item as it was moved
about by a human operator to the back of the room.
The effect was not total, but it was sufficient to demonstrate that optical camouflage is technically possible, though one expert - writing in Wired
magazine recently - pointed out that, for an invisibility cloak to work, it would have to have six stereoscopic cameras built into it, be covered with
11.6 million 'hyperpixels', each consisting of a very bright electronic display, and be controlled by a super-fast computer that would run on a
power source that could be built into the cloak.