Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Does This Bomber Look Fat To You?

Just what the Doctor ordered -- our Doctor Strangeloves and General Rippers, that is, who along with the Donald Rumsfelds of the world are no doubt salivating over, and made turgid by, this technological near-breakthrough:

The cloaking device, famously used by the Romulans in Star Trek to hide their spacecraft from enemies, may yet become reality, thanks to US researchers.

University of Pennsylvania PhD student Andrea Alu and professor Nader Engheta have written a paper for the journal Nature describing how a crude cloaking device could be built.

Mr Alu and Professor Engheta say their "plasmonic cover" could render objects "nearly invisible to an observer".

So far, research into invisibility has concentrated on camouflage: a screen is coloured to match its background, for example. But the invisibility shield proposed by the two researchers is more ambitious - a "self-contained structure that would reduce visibility from all viewing angles", according to Nature.