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The Bat Cave EAR

Evie is an aeorspace engineer and will blog about current events in various fields including but not limited to: Space, Astronomy, Genetics, Biology, Green Energy, Neuroscience, Physics, Quantum Physics, Evolution, Environmental issues, Engineering.. Pretty much anything and everything that catches her eye. Stay tuned! Thoughts, comments, requests – always welcomed!

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Awesome Stuff
Saturday, November 27, 2010

Last week we heard that researchers from Imperial college London, have published a study dealing with newly engineered metamaterials. These materials allow for light hitting them to be sped up or slowed down. Doing this, creates a zone with effectively no light, rendering that zone, and everything in it, hidden from sight, or invisible. The press release can be found here.

Our vision sensors, or eyes if you like, seem to work by collecting light rays from the environment. Waves of light hit objects, bounce off those objects and get picked up by the eye. The light then enters the eye through the cornea, passes through the pupil, and hits the retina. The picture there is received upside down, and it's up to the brain to take over and flip it around, do some filtering, put it all into context and perspective, and hopefully not pull too many tricks on us, as it often does..

Basically one could argue that it makes no difference how accurate your vision sensors are, as it still all depends on the programming and functionality of the brain, to interpret the data and make sense of it. But that's totally off topic.

Anyway, the researchers found a way to continuously manipulate the refractive index of these new metamaterials. The refractive index of a material, is the speed at which light passes through it. To date, scientists believe that the speed of light in a vacuum denoted by c, is constant (299,792,458m/s) and is the cosmic speed limit. The speed of light as it passes through different materials depends on many factors. You can read more about that here.

What's so cool about these new metamaterials is that they are engineered to have constantly changing refractive indices, meaning that the speed with which light passes through them, is variable.

This graphic shows the

The team had this brilliant idea, to take the front end of a light wave hitting the metamaterial and cause it to speed up, and take the back end of that same light wave and cause it to slow down.

By doing so, they'd be creating an area in the middle where no light is present, and hence, nothing to bounce back and hit our vision sensors telling us that something is there. That would make us entirely unaware of the existence of anything in that middle light gap, or of the gap itself. I love this concept!

This is different from past cloaking device concepts, which used other methods to bend light waves around objects. In which case, rather than hitting the object, the light is simply diverted on a curved path bypassing it entirely.

The new concept would be great to use if you wanted to do something, and have others remain oblivious to your actions.

The press release gives the example of breaking into a safe. All you'd have to do is speed up the light in front of you, slow down the light behind you, and do your lock picking inside that gap. Once you were done with your pillaging, you'd simply return the safe to its original configuration, and get out of there.

To any outside observer, it would seem that the safe is fine, and undisturbed. It'd be kind of like looking at old buffered data, rather than getting real time information.

With the cloak gone, the light waves would return to their normal velocity, and the observer would seamlessly transition back to viewing things in 'real time'.

Of course there would be that problem of you having to work in the dark.. seeing as there would be no light waves around.

The light bending concept wouldn't restrict you to the dark, but it also wouldn't help you pull off this type of job. The bending trick could conceal you, and the safe too if you'd want to pull the cloak over it, but then, it'd be pretty obvious that the safe had gone missing..

Another thing I liked about this new concept, is that they mentioned they could do this same thing, this time gap, buffered data trick with sound waves as well. So you wouldn't hear anything going on in the gap. Actually I think that would be a really cool invention, tons of applications for temporary cones of silence.

As far as actually making these things, we've got a ways to go. For the time being the researchers are working on a slimmed down version of the new concept, that will only open a light gap for a few nanoseconds. The gap will be about 30cm long, and will only work if the observer is located directly ahead of oncoming light.

The bending cloaks so far have been made to conceal only certain wavelengths of light, also on small scales.

But it's a start!

This all really shows how easily manipulated we are.. bend some light here, open a small gap there, show us old data.. and we are none the wiser. Something to think about..


For more information, here are a couple of cool posts on the topic -
Space–time cloak could hide events
on Nature News
How to cloak a crime in a beam of light
on NewScientist



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Blog Comments

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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So if it's a time cloak you'd really only have a few nanoseconds of "invisibility" before you'd be caught.  That or we're going to have to find metamaterials that do a much better job of slowing the light down, right?

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Yea, there are quite a few big issues to solve. Definitely, have to make more efficient materials.

But worse, to create a real usable version that'll work for just a few min at a time, they'd need a cloak bigger than Earth just to have enough space to recombine the light and close the gap seamlessly. And then there's the small matter of breaking the speed of light w the leading edge portion of the light wave.

But the concept is still totally awesome :)

Personally, I think we'd need to figure out how to maximize time for the person inside the gap relative to the outside observer. No clue how to do that though. Plus, if you can already manipulate time, do you really need to be shadowed in darkness? Perhaps. I dunno.

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You know what else would be fascinating to me, to see how quantum particles act in this photon-less gap when no one is watching.. do they still do that superposition thing? Does the wave function collapse in the gap? Only outside it? This could put an end to the whole 'particles being forced to a state by observer' thing.

I do of course realize, we'd never know, 'cause we wouldn't be looking.. *sigh*

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Evie said:

I do of course realize, we'd never know, 'cause we wouldn't be looking.. *sigh*




Guest Comment

Even without this cloaking device, which is very interesting, we are continuously manipulated by our perception of the environment. The simple example being the blind spot due to the location of the optical nerve that is perceptually filled by the brain. There are many many other examples of perceptual illusions and such that very clearly show that our perception gives us a relativley vague <i>interpretation</i> of what is out there.

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@Molly - Yup, totally. Not to mention, that everything we perceive is actually by definition old news, from the time it takes sound waves to travel from the source to our ears, or the time it takes the light from the sun to reach our eyes (which is 8 minutes), to the time it takes our sensors to register some change has occurred, and decide that it's significant enough to alert our more conscious layers to that change..

All things considered, it's pretty amazing that we are able to do as much as we do, w the limited resources we have.

Dov Henis

Guest Comment

Gravitation is the propensity of energy reconversion to mass. It's the other side of energy, i.e. of mass in motion:


Natural Selection Is Ubiquitous


Higgs Particle?  Dark Energy/Matter? Epigenetics?

These Are YOK!

Update Concepts-Comprehension…


Evolution Is The Quantum Mechanics Of Natural Selection.

The quantum mechanics of every process is its evolution.

Quantum mechanics are mechanisms, possible or probable or actual mechanisms of natural selection.



Universe-Energy-Mass-Life Compilation


A. The Universe


From the Big-Bang it is a rationally commonsensical conjecture that the gravitons, the smallest base primal particles of the universe, must be both mass and energy, i.e. inert mass yet in motion even at the briefest fraction of a second of the pre Big Bang singularity. This is rationally commonsensical since otherwise the Big would not have Banged, the superposition of mass and energy would not have been resolved.


The universe originates, derives and evolves from this energy-mass dualism which is possible and probable due to the small size of the gravitons.


Since gravitation Is the propensity of energy reconversion to mass and energy is mass in motion, gravity is the force exerted between mass formats.


All the matter of the universe is a progeny of the gravitons evolutions, of the natural selection of mass, of some of the mass formats attaining temporary augmented energy constraint in their successive generations, with energy drained from other mass formats, to temporarily postpone, survive, the reversion of their own constitutional mass to the pool of cosmic energy fueling the galactic clusters expansion set in motion by the Big Bang.


B. Earth Life


Earth Life is just another mass format. A self-replicating mass format. Self-replication is its mode of evolution, natural selection. Its smallest base primal units are the RNAs genes.


The genesis of RNAs genes, life’s primal organisms, is rationally commonsensical thus highly probable, the “naturally-selected” RNA nucleotides.


Life began/evolved on Earth with the natural selection of inanimate RNA, then of some RNA nucleotides, then arriving at the ultimate mode of natural selection, self-replication.


C. Know Thyself. Life Is Simpler Than We Are Told, Including Origin-Nature Of Brain-Consciousness-“Spirituality”***


The origin-reason and the purpose-fate of life are mechanistic, ethically and practically valueless. Life is the cheapest commodity on Earth.


As Life is just another mass format, due to the oneness of the universe it is commonsensical that natural selection is ubiquitous for ALL mass formats and that life, self-replication, is its extension. And it is commonsensical, too, that evolutions, broken symmetry scenarios, are ubiquitous in all processes in all disciplines and that these evolutions are the “quantum mechanics” of the processes.


Human life is just one of many nature’s routes for the natural survival of RNAs, the base primal Earth organisms.


Life’s evolution, self-replication:


Genes (organisms) to genomes (organisms) to mono-cellular to multicellular organisms:


Individual mono-cells to cooperative mono-cells communities, “cultures”.


Mono-cells cultures evolve their communication, neural systems, then further evolving nerved multicellular organisms.


Human life is just one of many nature’s routes for the natural survival of RNAs, the base Earth organism.


It is up to humans themselves to elect the purpose and format of their life as individuals and as group-members.


Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century)


***המקור והמהות של  "רוח יויות", כולן וירטואליות,

הרוח יויות  ובעות מהמאמי ים, לסיפוק ולשימוש  שלהם


An Embarrassingly Obvious Theory Of Everything


Tags: brain origin, gravitation, gravitons,  lifeevolution, nerved organisms, RNAlifehood, spirituality, universeevolution

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