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Battleship would be invisible to the eye, radar, produce no heat signature and make no sound

The ultimate in camouflage for military purposes would be complete invisibility. Invisibility has been a major factor in fiction going back to ancient Greek mythologies to contemporary science fiction. While we are far away from space ships capable of intergalactic travel like Stargate Atlantis, a clocking device may be closer than you think.

Metamaterials refract light at a negative angle, rather than refracting light like normal materials that can be seen. The properties of metamaterials allow scientists to bend light around objects making them invisible to the naked eye. DailyTech reported on similar technology before when researchers at the University of Maryland were able to cloak a small 10 micrometer circle making it invisible to the eye.

While 10 micrometers is incredibly small, the scientists hope to one day scale the size of the cloak to hide people and objects. This is exactly what researchers at the Britannia Royal Navy College hope to do, but on a much grander scale. The scientist are developing a method to render full battleships invisible to not only the naked eye, but to radar as well. The researchers also hope to mask the sound produced by the ships as well as its heat signature.

If the scientists are able to accomplish the goal, it would mean the British Navy would have battleships invisible to the naked eye, radar, heat-seeking missiles and that produce no noise. If successful, the only indication that the ship is coming would be the water displaced by the ship.

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If it's invisible...
By saiga6360 on 3/4/2008 3:13:39 PM , Rating: 5
how would you get on it?


RE: If it's invisible...
By Tsuwamono on 3/4/2008 3:16:56 PM , Rating: 1
i would assume you could turn the cloak on and off.

RE: If it's invisible...
By kenji4life on 3/4/2008 3:31:22 PM , Rating: 5
It only lasts for a few seconds, then you have to recharge it. Make sure not to run into enemies or their fire, as your cloak will be disrupted! Use your cloak to sneak behind enemy lines . When they least expect it, uncloak and stab them in the back!!


RE: If it's invisible...
By Obujuwami on 3/4/2008 4:43:17 PM , Rating: 2
Only a WoW rogue would say something that dastardly!!

I have been waiting for this technology to come out for a while now and I can use it on living things...sneaking my girl friends past my wife is getting harder to do now.

RE: If it's invisible...
By Gnoad on 3/4/2008 7:47:11 PM , Rating: 5
I think he was referring to a vastly superior game:

Team Fortress 2.

RE: If it's invisible...
By oTAL on 3/4/2008 8:10:27 PM , Rating: 4
You have been waiting for this technology for a long time.... plus you play WoW... and you have not only a wife but also a girlfriend... something is wrong here... oh! you mean imaginary wife and girldfriend!

Well then, you can just put an imaginary invisibility cloak on your imaginary girlfriend and everything should workout fine!

RE: If it's invisible...
By theapparition on 3/5/2008 8:58:11 AM , Rating: 5
If the technology works, you wouldn't have to sneak past your wife, you could do everything right in front of her!

RE: If it's invisible...
By lexluthermiester on 3/5/2008 2:00:17 AM , Rating: 3

Ya, and I'm the King of Canada....

I want to get a hold of this technology and mount it on my car, thus avoiding any and all speeding tickets! Of coarse, I'd have to extra careful avoiding other drivers since they wouldn't be able to see me. Still it'd be a lot of fun!

RE: If it's invisible...
By inperfectdarkness on 3/5/2008 9:03:08 AM , Rating: 3
more like:

"im kass neem, arbiter online"

yeah. good technology, until the other side develops the "iron curtain". then we're screwed.

RE: If it's invisible...
By DASQ on 3/5/2008 5:07:42 PM , Rating: 2

RE: If it's invisible...
By wingless on 3/5/2008 10:04:59 AM , Rating: 2
This is why you have to decloak to FIRE!

RE: If it's invisible...
By saratoga on 3/4/2008 9:55:36 PM , Rating: 2
i would assume you could turn the cloak on and off.

Actually, the current stuff doesn't really have an "off". The material and shape of the object itself renders the insides invisible (well mostly invisible, theres always going to be minor some phase distortion). Though maybe you could put some lights on the hull and turn them on so that you could at least see that something was there.

RE: If it's invisible...
By jskirwin on 3/4/2008 3:19:02 PM , Rating: 1
How would you find it if you misplaced it?

Seriously this quote is almost funny:
Scientists predict that invisibility will be possible for objects of any shape and size within the next decade.

So we're going from 10 micrometers to "any size within the next 10 years." Lol...

Which scientists said that and do sell what they obviously smoke?

RE: If it's invisible...
By ChronoReverse on 3/4/2008 3:39:33 PM , Rating: 2
Some time ago, someone predicted that we'd be on the moon within a decade...

RE: If it's invisible...
By shamgar03 on 3/4/2008 6:20:11 PM , Rating: 1
And we still haven't been there...

RE: If it's invisible...
By SiliconAddict on 3/5/08, Rating: 0
RE: If it's invisible...
By TheGovernment on 3/4/2008 7:41:36 PM , Rating: 2
kinda funny but at the same time we've advanced "tech speaking" more in the last 50 years than since the beginning of humanity. I'd say the quote might have some substance after all.

RE: If it's invisible...
By jajig on 3/5/2008 8:07:00 AM , Rating: 2
No we haven't. Provide some examples to prove me wrong because there have been many very significant technological inventions before 1958.

Here is a list of a few; the wheel, nuclear weapons, the crane, steam power, beer etc.

RE: If it's invisible...
By joegee on 3/5/2008 5:17:51 PM , Rating: 4
Off the top of my head:

biological science and medicine

genetic engineering
- gene mapping
- gene sequencing and manufacturing
- genome mapping
proteome studies
- protein folding
- enzyme chemistry
cellular metabolism and mechanisms
- mitosis and meiosis processes
- metabolic cycles
- organelle function
stem cell research
- human cell development
- human organ development
- transplant studies
general medicine
- increasingly effective medications
- tailored medications
- increased survivability / geriatric sciences
- antiviral medications
- better understanding of neural networks
- sophisticated brain imaging / mapping techniques

nanomaterial science
- atomic assembly / manipulation
- atomic imaging
- rapid analysis
- fullerenes and other carbon nanostructures

material science
- silicon plastics
- high temperature superconductivity
- high strength magnets
- phase change materials
- memory materials
- rapid prototyping
- "metamaterials" with negative refractive properties
- high strength plastics
- high temperature ceramics

- micron scale transistors
- leds and other emitters
- non-digital analog machines

high speed computing
- rapid information manipulation
- graphical representation of complex data sets
- networking, and near-universal information access
- advanced voice and text communication systems

artificial intelligence
- expert systems
- sophisticated modelling systems
- sophisticated search algorhythms
- high speed control systems
- accurate simulations

- information manipulation and compression
- fractal mathematics
- chaos theory

- real world applications of known physical phenomena: nuclear magnetic resonance, positron emission tomography, quantum tunneling, atomic decay
- supersymmetry (and loop quantum gravity)
- lasers and collimated radiation
- tokomaks and fusion research

space science
- satellite communications
- manned space flight
- space-based experimentation
- space-based observation platforms

This is roughly fifteen minutes of thought. I'm certain there are many, many more advances others can add.

-Joe G.

RE: If it's invisible...
By MastermindX on 3/5/2008 12:55:56 PM , Rating: 2
A few years ago, some clown said the the transistor count in integrated circuitry would double every 2 years...

He must have been smoking some real good stuff!

Now I believe they call his claim... Moore's law.

RE: If it's invisible...
By lompocus on 3/6/2008 3:10:39 AM , Rating: 1
Yup, he was pretty stoned when he said that. He meant to say transistor count would quintuple every 2 years!

Anyways, the United States has had this as far as the infantry and planes go for a while. I'm just curious for ships...wouldn't they still leave some sort of wake? There'd be an obvious visual sign that SOMETHING REALLY FUCKING BIG is there!

RE: If it's invisible...
By GhandiInstinct on 3/4/2008 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't mean it will de-materialize and not have any mass in a third or 4th dimensional plane.

It's just refracting light..

RE: If it's invisible...
By joex444 on 3/4/2008 5:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
It would be refracting light in such a way that you couldn't see it. If you can't see it, how do you know it's there? How can you know where to board the ship?

RE: If it's invisible...
By lexluthermiester on 3/5/2008 2:04:19 AM , Rating: 2
Simple, look for the hole in the water, if you're above it your on a ship. If not your in the water.... LOL! J/K folks I know it doesn't work that way. But it's still kind of funny if you picture it in your mind...

RE: If it's invisible...
By borowki on 3/4/2008 5:20:04 PM , Rating: 3
If you can't get on, it means you're stupid. Her Majesty's new ship is so advanced that only smart people can see it.

RE: If it's invisible...
By FaceMaster on 3/4/08, Rating: -1
RE: If it's invisible...
By tim851 on 3/5/2008 7:08:57 AM , Rating: 1
Very nice!

RE: If it's invisible...
By InsaneGain on 3/5/2008 12:17:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hey I'm wearing a pair of new pants with the same feature! They were very expensive, but the sales person assured me that only stupid people wouldn't be able to see them. I, of course, can see them clearly.

RE: If it's invisible...
By HVAC on 3/5/2008 1:05:48 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah?

What color are they?

By Carter642 on 3/4/2008 3:21:42 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, a cloaked battleship, very cool! Except for one huge massive glaring thing... The wake!!!! Anyone with a spy satallite or airplane could spot the thing moving through the water when it's under way.

Still, this has to be one of the coolest things in a long time if they can get it to work! Invisible airplanes? Invisible satallites?

RE: Wake?!
By Desslok on 3/4/2008 3:46:43 PM , Rating: 2
According to several amateur satellite watchers the US already has several "stealth" sats that are very hard to near impossible to pick up using regular optics.

RE: Wake?!
By Carter642 on 3/4/2008 4:46:55 PM , Rating: 5
I'd actually read about that type of spy satellite, that technology is more suited to relatively low cross section craft.

I was thinking more along the lines of military communications satellites which need to have large surface area antenna pointed earthward with an unobstructed view. I do have to wonder just what wavelengths this cloak technology works over. If your cloak is opaque to radio, optical and microwave then it's kind of tricky to recieve communications inside not to mention that you can't see out! Also it is worth wondering whether this technology is symmetrical, i.e. can you transmit out of the cloak?

RE: Wake?!
By geddarkstorm on 3/4/2008 5:07:42 PM , Rating: 3
I would imagine that you could keep your antennas uncloaked (by just not making it out of metametal or whatever the stuff is), as it's unlikely they will give much of a signal or be visible at any practical range. By the time they could be seen, you'd be running over the observer.

RE: Wake?!
By HighWing on 3/4/2008 5:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, a cloaked battleship, very cool! Except for one huge massive glaring thing... The wake!!!!

*laughs* thats exactly what I was thinking. If I'm reading this correctly, the material will only refract light that hits IT... which is to say, it would do nothing for the fact that the water moving around it would be rather obvious to spot and even more so the bigger the ship is. Which leads me to ask.... Which bright British naval officer thought this would work at all on a battleship?

RE: Wake?!
By Nik00117 on 3/4/2008 5:12:14 PM , Rating: 2
It has its advtanges.

I mean lets say your a naval captain of a enemy state of Britian and 3 of those ships attack your 5. Well you know roughly where they are, but your only chance to hit them is to fire massive fire at them.

I think military leaders more or less want to hide smaller craft, that when standing still would actually produce later wake or dissplacement.

Also i'ma guess since it "merely refracts light" its not completely invisible so once you get to a distance you won't be fooled. In fact thats prob why its being developed for naval operations and not ground operations.

I believe this is the first step to invisiblity, allbeit it has many flaws the first rifle wasn't perfect was it now?

RE: Wake?!
By InsaneGain on 3/4/2008 6:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
Metamaterial technology is supposed to bend EM energy completely around an object, where it would then continue on as if it had passed straight through, so theoretically the object could be completely invisible. A radar stealth/invisible ship would be a huge advantage on the huge expanses of the ocean as you would have to be quite close to notice the wake, and you wouldn't be able to determine the general area to search in order to ever get that close. It probably wouldn't be used to sneak right up to an enemy boat.

RE: Wake?!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 3/5/2008 11:23:51 AM , Rating: 2
SONAR anyone?

Typo police
By bhieb on 3/4/2008 4:13:12 PM , Rating: 3
a clocking device may be closer than you think

should be cloaking.

RE: Typo police
By kattanna on 3/4/2008 4:37:29 PM , Rating: 4
hey now.. maybe they are working on invisible clocks

RE: Typo police
By Visual on 3/5/2008 7:35:41 AM , Rating: 3
I wonder if you can overcloak them :P

Now where did I put that ship?
By tmouse on 3/4/2008 3:12:19 PM , Rating: 2
Thunk!!! ; )

RE: Now where did I put that ship?
By tmouse on 3/4/2008 3:19:03 PM , Rating: 5
Cannot resist: ; )
Today several of her Majesties finest invisible war ships sunk as they all tried to enter the same dock. The admiralty could not release exact figures until they can figure how many vessels were actually trying to dock.

And now for something completely different.....

RE: Now where did I put that ship?
By jnn4v on 3/4/2008 4:21:15 PM , Rating: 2

I got my 3D glasses
By bupkus on 3/4/2008 3:55:35 PM , Rating: 5
Wouldn't it be so funny if all you needed to counter this effect was a pair of 3D red/blue glasses?

RE: I got my 3D glasses
By saiga6360 on 3/4/2008 4:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, so that's why there's been a stockpile of such glasses by the Iranian navy. And here I thought they were just being crazy like usual.

we beat the predators
By nosfe on 3/4/2008 3:52:45 PM , Rating: 2
not even the predators were able to make waterproof cloaking devices, once we have this we'll be the rulers of the universe har har har

RE: we beat the predators
By nugundam93 on 3/4/2008 4:12:20 PM , Rating: 3
and not even the guys who did the thermoptic camo in ghost in the shell could make it waterproof - the camo always shorts out when it gets wet. :)

By A5un on 3/4/2008 4:06:09 PM , Rating: 2
What's a Stargate Atlantis? Is it also an invisible battleship that travels across galaxies?

RE: Er?
By Master Kenobi on 3/4/2008 4:11:42 PM , Rating: 1
Stargate Atlantis is a TV show based on Stargate SG-1. In both series there are several large and small space craft capable of cloaking. See: Romulans in Star Trek.

RE: Er?
By geddarkstorm on 3/4/2008 4:44:55 PM , Rating: 2
Looks like we're finally starting to see the fruits of the Stargate program :D

In all reality, putting this technology on planes, tanks, and missiles would be the real killer application.

By yxalitis on 3/4/2008 7:00:34 PM , Rating: 3
And whose battleships would these be, by the no-one has produced a battleship for 50 years, and the US Navy decommissioned the last one decades ago...

Strange choice of ship-type that one.

Now, a stealth hovercraft...that has some nasty possibilities~!

RE: Battleship?
By rcc on 3/5/2008 12:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
This is a lamentable trend in tech site reporting lately. They use Battleship interchangeably with Warship. It's a bit like calling every processor an E6600 instead of using the generic "CPU" or "processor".

Try to be a bit more accurate in terminology. If you need any Naval technical references I'm sure some of your readers would be happy to help.

Is that the ship
By AlphaVirus on 3/4/2008 3:18:06 PM , Rating: 2
If that is the ship in the image above, how will they prevent the wake?

Its pretty impressive they can reduce the sound and make radar pickup to none but if they have a wake following them the whole kind of blows their cover.

This would be much better for a submarine, it would seem, when they surface they will not be spotted.

RE: Is that the ship
By HrilL on 3/4/2008 4:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
while that idea is not bad. Modern subs only surface when at port they could stay under forever but they have to restock on food. So that wouldn't really do much good.

err how does this help?
By sdifox on 3/4/2008 4:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
You can spot the wake of the ship, so how is this any more stealthy than the regular variety?

RE: err how does this help?
By Curelom on 3/4/2008 5:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
Yes you can spot the wake, but not the ship, it's one step further on what we have today. You can't spot a ships wake with radar. The ship can also stop, thus no wake. You can't spot the wake at night either.
Is this a perfect technology(provided they can get it to work), no, nothing ever is.

Negatives in context
By Gastrian on 3/4/2008 7:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
It appears that a lot of the negatives being brought up have very little impact.

The ease of spotting most warships is the solid colour against the water, therefore even if the ship wasn't perfectly cloaked the distortion effect of the camoflauge would help it blend in with the surrounding water. Jungle camoflauge doesn't look like jungle but it does offer a good amount of protection against detection.

There'll be the wake to give the ship away, yes that is a possibility but whats harder to aim at, a moving bit of water or a fully viewable cruiser?

Now the most important aspect is range, a standard fit light cannon for the US navy has a range of 13miles (24Km). Are you going to notice wake at that distance or even that the invisibility isn't perfect? The invisible craft has spotted the enemy well before its been spotted and can close in at a slower speed to reduce wake and get the first shot in at well below the maximum range for greater efficiency. It doesn't matter if the invisibility stops working at five miles when you've started to rip it to shreds from seven miles away.

RE: Negatives in context
By jlips6 on 3/5/2008 9:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
er... did you actually read my post?

By sukcius on 3/6/2008 2:03:50 AM , Rating: 2
Ok, lets say it can't be detected by radars since it reflect light. What about mechanical waves?

RE: Re
By jlips6 on 3/13/2008 10:08:27 PM , Rating: 2
alright, minor correction here. radar does not work with light, it works with frequency's higher than light,(radio waves.) so a light refracting paint/substance/whatever would probably not shield you from a radar wave.

By PWNettle on 3/4/2008 5:16:51 PM , Rating: 1
...this is incredible speculation, not news, and barely even intesesting.

Why would the british navy ever - ever - need an "invisible ship" and maybe we stupid americans would let our government piss away however many billions it'd cost to make ONE such ship, since pissing away billions on unnecessary military toys and wars is how our useless govt rolls, but I can't see any other govt getting away with that kind of financial idiocy.

I especially like this:

researchers at the University of Maryland were able to cloak a small 10 micrometer circle making it invisible to the eye.

I kinda doubt I'd be able to see something that small with or without cloaking, so color me unimpressed.

RE: Eh...
By saiga6360 on 3/5/2008 1:17:19 AM , Rating: 2
Why? So Google can't see them.

Plus, it can be real handy checking out the women's bathroom. Now if we can only get it to fit right in.

By jlips6 on 3/4/2008 6:21:30 PM , Rating: 3
1 to make a ship invisible to the naked eye means everything has to be invisible. every part, including non-metallic ones, such as glass (windshields, a huge problem).
2 even metal parts would be a problem because naturally, all metals are different, so you need a different cloaking method for each of them
3 metals (and all materials for that matter) have a tendancy to wear out when subjected to constant wear and tear, as well as chemical reactivity, which is a large one when you are traveling in and on 3 huge problems. air. water. salt.
4 Any material that refracts light like this would undoubtedly have to have some properties that might not work so well when blasted with light from all directions, (water refraction, hello people?) especially on so large an object.
5 how can a ship make no sound?
6 since this is a project for the future, they do realize that future radar bands are capable of detecting current methods of avoiding radar, right?
7 although this may sound comical, these have a much larger chance of vanishing and no one discovering them. (think about if one were to sink.)
8 photons have size, small though it may be, and the object they originally bent light around was also extrodinarily small. As an object grows, light refraction grows more complex. (magnified objects need more light, so a cloaking a grain sized object is much less difficult than cloaking an apple sized one even.)

By dogcommander on 3/4/2008 6:49:02 PM , Rating: 3
How is it that there can be so many smart people on this forum who can't spell worth a damn?

By XToneX on 3/4/08, Rating: 0
RE: mmhmm
By Polynikes on 3/4/2008 4:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, well, I'll believe it when I see it. Oh wait, I won't.

Reminds me
By Ammohunt on 3/4/2008 3:44:38 PM , Rating: 2
Reminds me of the Philidelphia Experiment.

Invisible Physics
By Dharl on 3/4/2008 5:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
Battleship would be invisible to the eye, radar, produce no heat signature and make no sound

Ok... and what about the displacement of the water?

Hmm, what's the moving hole in the water? I don't hear or see anything... must be my imagination.

By Borkil on 3/4/2008 8:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
this sounds really interesting though the only problem i would think to be is how would the ship be able to see where it's going? if they are able to bend the light around the ship then that would mean no light actually hits the ship thus if you were on it, i assume it'd be pitch black, right? so how would you be able to steer the vessel in darkness?

By Jedi2155 on 3/5/2008 12:42:25 AM , Rating: 2
Someone mentioned wake, also that the metamaterial used can be used to refract EM energy but what about sound energy? It won't make it invisible to SONAR I bet....

By Choppedliver on 3/5/2008 12:47:34 AM , Rating: 2
You guys who are harping on the wake factor are idiots....

A) A wake can not be seen in stormy seas unless you are right up on the ship. In case of calm seas, see item B below.

B) Try getting close to a warship... You will most likely be blown out of the water miles before you get close enough to see a wake

B-2 Spirit
By tim851 on 3/5/2008 7:33:25 AM , Rating: 2
Splendid! A B-2 for the sea: horribly expensive to build and maintain, full of compromise and drawbacks, used to harrass 3rd world countries, who couldn't have defended themselves against regular vessels in the first place.

By 0uterlimitz on 3/5/2008 8:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
Tribes 2 scout/cloak/shocklance for teh win!

By sukcius on 3/6/2008 2:10:23 AM , Rating: 2
*It does't reflect light

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