EUGENE, Ore. – Other than the usual yelling from University of Oregon “Ducks” football and basketball fans, it’s unusual to hear loud cheers on campus coming from someplace like the school’s computer labs; but, that changed today with news from England about a UFO-style cloaking device that may allow objects and people to disappear and then reappear in a different location.
The cloaking device that's turning things invisible was developed by scientists at Birmingham University in England, and recently announced by British media as "a crystal that can exploit light refraction on demand." Birmingham University chief scientist Dr. Shuang Zhang, who announced the discovery, has compared this new technology as something "we'll be using in the future."
Zhang, who's appearing all over the Internet and other media discussing his team's discovery, used an example of a submarine that could be completely "cloaked" by this new technology and "virtually invisible to known technology."
In turn, a number of physicists students here at the University of Oregon point to cloaking technology as science fiction becoming fact "right before our eyes. This is significant because Dr. Zhang and the other Birmingham scientists have proved it's now possible to manipulate space and time so that what we're looking for is hidden from view."
"It's an amazing discovery, and shows you just how far technology is exploding today, "said physicists student Lee Hartung who added "this means Star Trek stuff is happening now."
The UFO community has long speculated that mysterious flying objects use this same technology when a UFO is seen and then disappears as if it's using something that cloaks it from the human eye and even radar.
Star Trek and UFO technology here now, say experts
In terms of Star Trek lore, the writer Paul Schneider said he got the idea of using a "cloaking device" in space travel from the same example that Dr. Zhang used about a submarine. For example, in the 1958 film "Run Silent, Run Deep," a submarine hides from enemy ships by pretending to be invisible.
In turn, Schneider used this idea when he wrote the 1966 Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror," while famed Star Trek screenwriter, D.C. Fontana, said she coined the term "cloaking device" for the 1968 episode she wrote called "The Enterprise Incident."
Soon after, other popular science fiction programs such as "Dr. Who," "Stargate," and even the "Star Wars" movies used technology that both "cloaked" their space ships and made crew members "invisible." Moreover, today's computer games -- such as "Halo: Combat Evolved" and "StarCraft" - also use cloaking technology that, up until now, was fiction.
In brief, physicists student Lee Hartung notes that this recent cloaking technology breakthrough means that "eventually we will be able to make anything invisible to the eye."
He then points to how this cloaking technology uses physics to manipulate light so that "events" in real life are changed by light. "It's not easy to explain in layman's terms," adds Hartung with a big laugh.
Stealth technology goes back 20 years or more
Stealth technology is a popular "science trick" used to wow students at various museum's around the country.
For example, at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland, Oregon, instructors use microwaves to try and detect an object. In turn, light and radar waves are used to show how microwaves bounce off objects making them visible. However, there's always been a shadow of the object. This recent announcement out of England means there will be no shadow and the object will be invisible to the eye.
At the same time, Hartung notes that cloaking technology is different from say stealth aircraft technology that's currently used today. A stealth airplane is "not invisible" but simply uses technology to reduce the cross-section that a radar would notice.
In turn, cloaking technology would hide the object from any known radar. Hartung then noted the "military will jump on this new cloaking technology big time."
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