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Hiding in Plain Sight

Talking cloaking tech and sharing an excerpt!

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In the run-up to the release of Maestra Rising: Project Enterprise 8, I’ve been thinking a lot about my made-up technologies and where they connect with reality. When I was writing Byte Me: Lonesome Lawmen 2, I talked with various people about the tech in that (contemporary suspense) book and one of them told me, “If you can imagine it, it will eventually happen. Interestingly enough, my VR technology in that book is starting to really happen, maybe not quite to the point, I did it, but getting there for sure.

One of the technologies that because available to my Project Enterprise explorers, thanks to unlocking some Garradian technology, was cloaking technology—and even phased cloaking that would allow ships to pass through solid objects. It was first used in The Key, and then later in Found Girl, Operation Ark, Lost Valyr and also in Maestra Rising. Hey, if you’ve got something that helps, you use it. lol

How real is it? Well…

Researchers are exploring different types of ways to create invisibility cloaking. One way is to use a filter. Let me explain. All the different frequencies of a type of energy called electromagnetic radiation are within the electromagnetic spectrum.  X-rays, gamma rays, and radar are all contained in this spectrum. While our eyes aren’t capable of seeing X-rays, they are able to see a tiny range of frequencies on the electromagnetic spectrum. That’s what we call visible light. We call the frequencies colors. Violet is at one end and red at the other. Some light sources have more than one specific frequency. Those are broadband sources. Sunlight is one example. 

What our vision is picking up is the interaction of light frequencies and an object. When the sunlight shines on a red car the car reflects the red light frequency and absorbs the other frequencies. Our eyes pick up the reflected red light, so we see a red car. We can manipulate these frequencies when they interact with an object. 

Say there is a green table. It’s green to us because it’s reflecting only green light. To make the table look invisible to the human eye a specially designed filter can temporarily shift the green frequencies in the broadband spectrum shining on the table to blue. Then, we can use another filter to shift those frequencies back to green on the other side of the table. Guess what happens. We can’t see the table. It’s invisible to us. But for this method to work you have to look toward the table through the first filter. In other words, your eyes have to follow the path of light. 

Some physicists believe it’s impossible to actually create an invisibility cloak However, a lot of researchers feel differently. Scientists from the Queen Mary University of London have come up with the idea for an invisibility cloaking device that works at a range of frequencies. It causes a curved surface to appear flat to the electromagnetic waves. They glazed the curved surface with a  Lon medium with seven layers of varying electric properties. That enhances certain properties of the object’s surface to achieve a “flattening” effect. 

Also, researchers at the Public University of Navarre and the Universitat Politècnica de València are interested in cloaking by bending light. It’s an invisibility technology that conceals objects in diffusive atmospheres. An object will look invisible if it’s surrounded by a special material that can bend light.  But the cloaks don’t work right when the object is illuminated by short light pulses, which is essential in many applications. However, transformation optics might be a plausible workaround since it focuses on which material can best suit the cloak.

Scientists working on developing an invisibility cloak are also turning to leafhopper insects. The microparticles they sweat out repel water from their wings and alter wavelengths of light. They absorb light in a way that camouflages the leafhoppers. So, they look invisible to their predators.

Using a complex five-step electrochemical process, Scientists from Pennsylvania State University developed similar microparticles. They use nanoscale holes to absorb up to 99 percent of light on a broad range of frequencies, from ultraviolet through visible and close to infrared. If the light doesn’t reflect on the object than anyone passing by won’t see it.

Most of the leafhoppers’ predators, (bugs and birds) see the world through ultraviolet and visible light. When the synthetic material was placed on leaves and looked at through a simulated beetle view (a restricted vision spectrum), the visible colors of the leaves and microparticles were almost identical matches.

So maybe we’re getting closer to the technology I use in my novels, but yeah, most of my stuff is still made-up. Being a fiction author, I love making things up. Lol

What about you? Is there a technology you’re dreaming of?

Perilously yours,

Pauline

Read an excerpt from The Key! (You can get The Key for free by signing up for my newsletter!):

“Make sure your tray tables are put away and your chairs are in the locked, upright position,” Sara murmured. This was either going to go really well or really badly. She wasn’t sensing a lot of support from the rear either. 

She started the propulsion module. That was the easy part. 

“Cheer up, guys. It will only hurt for a minute if it doesn’t work.” 

She activated the phase cloak. If it worked, they should be able to pass through the solid roof. If it banged into the ceiling, she’d know it didn’t. 

The throttle controlled lift, forward, back and side-to-side and down movement. All she had to do was move it the right way. No problem… 

She eased it slightly and the ship edged forward a few feet. Okay, that was forward. She found back and down. The guys didn’t like down. Probably because she banged them against the floor. Side-to-side made them nervous, too. 

“Could we try up now, ma’am,” Henderson asked. 

He might be sorry. 

“Okay.” She moved the throttle and the ship began to rise. 

It was about then that they began to wonder how the ship was going to get out. 

“Shouldn’t something open, ma’am?” That was Givens. 

Sanchez didn’t talk much, but Sara sensed his support for the question. 

“If we opened something, water would rush in and crush all the little ships,” Sara said, a little absent-mindedly. If they were going to hit something, it was going to happen in five seconds. 

…four…three…two… 

She tensed. She couldn’t help it. Apparently, the guys couldn’t help it either. All three of them were cussing a blue streak. 

The ship went right through it. 

The cussing didn’t stop. It might have gotten worse. 

They were in the ocean now. She looked at her watch. They needed to stop twice on the way up. 

The three men didn’t like the stops. It didn’t help that the shark creatures kept swimming through the ship as if they sensed they were there. One went right through Sara. Even with weird the new normal, that was different. 

The guys alternated between cussing and praying. Someone said hallelujah when they broke the surface of the water. 

When she touched down in front of command, she’d never seen three guys more motivated to leave. Henderson did turn and wish her luck. He sounded like he thought she’d need it. 

He was probably right. 

* * *

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt! If you haven’t preordered Maestra Rising yet, there is still time!

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