Romulan Cloaking Devices Too?

|

Is it a Star Trek universe yet? As frequent H&R commenter, the innominate one, points out in my earlier post on the possibility of Stark Trek warp drives, other researchers have developed materials that bend light that can make objects invisible. Memory Alpha describes the Romulan cloaking device as:

A cloaking device is a form of stealth technology that uses selective bending of light (and other forms of energy) to render a starship or other object completely invisible to the electromagnetic spectrum and most sensors

 

http://images.wikia.com/memoryalpha/en/images/d/d3/Romulan_bird-of-prey,_ENT-aft,_cloaking.jpg

The New York Times reports that researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have created materials that could render objects invisible:

Using tiny wires and fishnet structures, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found new ways to bend light backward, something that never occurs in nature. 

This technology could lead to microscopes able to peer more deeply and clearly into living cells. And the same kind of structures might one day be adapted to bend light in other unnatural ways, creating a Harry Potter-like invisibility cloak. "This is definitely a big step toward that idea," said Jason Valentine, a graduate student and a lead author of a paper to be published online Wednesday by the journal Nature. But scientists are still far from designing and manufacturing such a cloak.

New York Times article here.

NEXT: Star Trek Warp Drive Possible?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Using tiny wires and fishnet structures, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found new ways to bend light backward, something that never occurs in nature.

    How would they know if it did?

  2. Is it a Star Trek universe yet?

    Hypospray? *Check!*
    Communicator? *Check!*
    Digital Media? *Check!*
    Searchable databases? *Check!*
    Scientists in bed with the military? Um…*Check!*
    Utopian Aspirations? Hm. *Check!*
    Interventionist Foreign Policy? Yah. *Check!*
    One World Government? *Check!* (Just kidding.)

  3. How would they know if it did?

    It’s light. You’d, um, *notice*.

    Unless the laws of physics are locally inconsistent. In which case, fuck it, let’s go bowling.

  4. Hypospray? *Check!*
    Communicator? *Check!*
    Digital Media? *Check!*
    Searchable databases? *Check!*
    Scientists in bed with the military? Um…*Check!*
    Utopian Aspirations? Hm. *Check!*
    Interventionist Foreign Policy? Yah. *Check!*
    One World Government? *Check!* (Just kidding.)

    Green women? Shit, no.
    Romulan Ale? Hell no.
    Miniskirt uniforms for female crew members? Nope.
    Holodecks? Uh-uh.
    Transporters? Not yet.

    It seems we got all the bad and none of the good.

  5. The Khitomer treaty prohibits us from developing this kind of technology.

  6. Using tiny wires and fishnet structures…

    Spurs and fishnets?

    Where do I sign up?

  7. It’s light. You’d, um, *notice*.

    You’d notice if there were gnats flying around with natural cloaking devices?

  8. I always love these kinds of stories. There is some amazing breakthrough in its own right, but to get the media to report it, the scientist has to make a way-down-the-road prediction. Then, at the end of the story, the reporter puts back in all of the caveats the scientist stated in order to protect his credibility. Cold fusion, cures for diseases, teleporting, life on Mars … the list goes on and on.

  9. You’d notice if there were gnats flying around with natural cloaking devices?

    You bet your juicy ass. It’s the buzzing, you see.

  10. What’s the penalty for violating Snell’s Law?

  11. Miniskirt uniforms for female male crew members?

    Nope.

  12. Romulan Ale? Hell no.

    Yeah, but like Romulan Ale we do have the *too fucking far away to care* Alaska exception to our drug laws. That sorta counts.

  13. What’s the penalty for violating Snell’s Law?

    Two hundred milliseconds confinement in a fiber optic cable.

  14. You bet your juicy ass. It’s the buzzing, you see.

    You’ve long since ruined the joke, such as it was.

  15. Two hundred milliseconds confinement in a fiber optic cable.

    Shit! That’s an eternity in nanoseconds!

  16. You’d notice if there were gnats flying around with natural cloaking devices?

    You bet your juicy ass. It’s the buzzing, you see.

    I thought that’s what happens when you get sped up in time really fast.

  17. The Khitomer treaty prohibits us from developing this kind of technology.

    And it, like the Prime Directive, was made to be broken (by Kirk).

  18. And it, like the Prime Directive, was made to be broken (by Kirk).

    The only difference between him and Picard in this respect was that Picard felt a little badly *afterward*. A distinction without a difference, IMHO.

  19. Green women? Shit, no.

    I always thought a nifty ST series would be a plague ravaging Earth and the only cure was Kirk’s DNA. Since he disappeared in the retarded string heaven thingie with Whoopie Goldberg, they send out an expedition to find all the alien trim he knocked up during the five year mission and track down all of his children.

    Star Trek: Bastard Hunt

  20. Good idea, NutraSweet. The ideal candidate in your story would be some alien who was the child of Kirk but whose race grows to maturity very fast, so then she would encounter Kirk and have incestuous sex with him, and have a child, and then depending on how fast they mature, just keep going until the child is like 99% Kirk DNA. Or something like that; I haven’t thought it all through yet.

    The only difference between him and Picard in this respect was that Picard felt a little badly *afterward*. A distinction without a difference, IMHO.

    Kirk didn’t bother with the phoney moralizing, making him both more honest and more interesting.

  21. but whose race grows to maturity very fast

    Kirk would be the guy to not only pork a cockroach, but then also bang his half-cockroach daughter.

    By the way, I never knew until yesterday that Doohan was missing a finger on his right hand and they covered it up with stunt hands. (I’m not the biggest ST fan in the world, or SW for that matter.)

  22. This is all so 2007.

  23. Kirk would be the guy to not only pork a cockroach, but then also bang his half-cockroach daughter

    Dude, it’s Shatner Kirk. If he wasn’t the first, who would be?

  24. He was a fan of the strangest strange around.

  25. Sorry but I don’t trust the teleporter thingie. I read Stephen King’s short story, “The Jaunt”, and now when I watch people being teleported on the new Star Trek I get chills.

  26. I kissed a girl once.

  27. Naga,

    Did you ever read The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester? (Published in the UK as Tyger! Tyger!) It’s where King got “jaunting.” (Although it’s a different process in the novel.)

  28. Invisibility cloak, pshaw. I want a scramble suit.

  29. I read Stephen King’s short story, “The Jaunt”, and now when I watch people being teleported on the new Star Trek I get chills.

    Well, that’s because it’s forever in there.

  30. Using tiny wires and fishnet structures, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have found new ways to bend light backward, something that never occurs in nature.

    Uh, doesn’t reflection amount to bending light backwards? And that, obviously, happens all over the place in nature.

  31. bigbigslacker,

    Your mother doesn’t count.

  32. I read Stephen King’s short story, “The Jaunt”, and now when I watch people being teleported on the new Star Trek I get chills.

    Scrambling people’s molecules. Damn fool way to travel.

  33. Uh, doesn’t reflection amount to bending light backwards? And that, obviously, happens all over the place in nature.

    No, reflection is an absorption/retransmission mechanic. Bending the light itself would require oodles of space-bending energy.

    Snell’s law, FTW.

  34. Scrambling people’s molecules. Damn fool way to travel.

    He was always the most sensible of the three. That’s why no one listened to him: would be a boring fucking show.

  35. That’s why no one listened to him: would be a boring fucking show.

    Well, he’s a doctor, not a scriptwriter.

  36. Epi,

    I believe the joke should be:

    Dammit, Elemenope, he’s a doctor, not a scriptwriter!

  37. “…my earlier post on the possibility of Stark Trek warp drives…”

    Tony Stark (Iron Man) didn’t invent the warp drive, it was Zephram Cochrane! :p

  38. Elemenope,

    Still, isn’t this functionally equivalent to reflection? If you could use this technique to render objects invisible, couldn’t you use reflection in the same way?

    And Snell’s Law applies to refraction, another absorption/transmission process.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.