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Printed Electronics World
Posted on May 14, 2008 by  & 

Invisibility by smart fabric video

At IDTechEx we go beyond simply announcing advances in printed and thin film electronics and electrics. We try to present the needs for new materials and patterning in this category and the uses that will emerge if practice can follow theory. For example metamaterials have been described that begin to confer invisibility and properties enabling many other new functions and components but practice has more to do to follow theory. Here is another example:

Optical camouflage

In 2003, scientists at the University of Tokyo in Japan first demonstrated a different approach - this is "optical camouflage". Rather than bending waves around an object, this approach uses virtual reality.


To imagine an example, a jacket is coated in a 'retro-reflective' material, with a surface structure of micro beads. This surface only reflects light back in the direction it came from and that images are reflected clearly even in bright sunlight.
A camera - potentially laminar - records what is going on behind the jacket's wearer. These images are then projected onto the reflective surface by a thin film ciruit. The jacket and the person inside it then appear transparent and the scene behind can be seen 'through' them.
As the IET magazine points out, "Although this technique relies on clever camera tricks, its developers believe that it has plenty of uses. For example, it could enable surgeons to see through their own fingers and surgical tools during operations. It could also help pilots to land planes by making the floors of their cockpits transparent or help drivers to reverse-park their cars by enabling them to 'see through' their vehicles."

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Posted on: May 14, 2008

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