Friday, September 4, 2015

The Invisible Man And The Future Of Cloaking Technology.

In terms of the Universal Monsters, the Invisible Man is probably my most favorite. Released in 1933, The Invisible Man was a revolutionary film with dazzling special effects for the era. Many of the effects were completed through a particularly difficult process for the time. Claude Rains, the actor whom portrayed the Invisible Man, wore a black velvet suit and was filmed against a black velvet backdrop. Complete scenes were then matted over this footage to simulate his invisibility. While that may seem like a simple task today, it was nearly impossible to construct in 1933. The Invisible Man was universally praised for this accomplishment in film making. For its importance to the history of cinema, the movie was added to the United States National Film Registry in 2008 for preservation by the Library of Congress.

Needless to say, The Invisible Man is one hell of a good film.

Astonishingly, implementing actual invisibility is something that's closer to reality than you may think.

The cloaking technology implemented by the Predator is eerily similar to what current scientific efforts are hoping to achieve.

Many research teams and engineers across the globe are actively researching invisibility technology. Most applications of this research involve varying degrees of cloaking technology and the use of metamaterials (materials engineered to have properties not yet found in nature). Such technology bends or refracts the light that strikes a cloaked object, thereby rendering it invisible. Other cloaking techniques simply allow light photons to pass through them, as if nothing was there. A research team at the University of California, Berkeley successfully demonstrated this to be possible on the nanoscale level with the use of metamaterials. Other research teams have seen promising results through the use of nanobots, which can singularly bend light around an object as it actively moves through an environment.

While current research indicates that the method of invisibility seen in The Invisible Man is probably not achievable, we will be able to cloak objects and people through more rudimentary means in the near future. Considering many objects can already be rendered invisible to radar and atmospheric surveillance, I suspect we'll achieve invisibility within my lifetime. How cool is that?!

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