Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The next step after "invisibility cloaks" are "event cloaks" that don't just hide objects, but events:
Using the ultimate bank heist as an example, McCall and Kinsler explain how a thief could, in principle, use an "event cloak" to steal money from a safe, without even the CCTV surveillance cameras being aware.

The burglar would somehow need to split all the light approaching the safe into two parts: "before" and "after", with the "before" part sped up and the "after" part slowed down.

This would create a brief period of darkness during which the burglar could enter the scene and steal the money, being careful to close the safe door before they leave.

With the safe-cracker gone, the process of speeding up and slowing down the light would then be reversed, leading to an apparently untouched scene once again.

Robbing a bank is, of course, only an example to illustrate the principle of what an event cloak could do. As McCall and Kinsler explain, a more likely application of a full-size event cloak would be to control the flow of signals in an optical routing system, where one may need to process simultaneous uninterrupted signals at the same time.