Skip to main content

Cloaking Devices: Vanishing Into Thin Space

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Realization of Star Trek Technologies

Abstract

Gene Roddenberry once said that heroes don’t hide, so The United Federation of Planets in Star Trek didn’t develop cloaking technologies of their own. While this is a laudable position for the good guys in science fiction, it ignores the non-military applications of potential cloaking devices. Fortunately, scientists have extended the ideas of camouflage and stealth technologies into the realm of true cloaks. They may be somewhat limited at the present time, but yes, cloaking devices do exist. Engineered metamaterials have the ability to bend light around an object, so that what is behind the target is seen by the observer, just as if the object wasn’t there at all. These gradient index cloaks hide a defined space, but other metamaterial cloaks, called mantle cloaks, can be attached to an individual object to be cloaked. These cloaks destroy any light that bounces off the target object, again yielding it invisible over a range of EM frequencies. But science doesn’t stop there, new techniques can slow light down or stop it completely in order to cloaks events in time or change the apparent position of a moving object in space.

I’ve served on a half a dozen ships, and none of them’ve

had cloaking devices except the Defiant. Now that

we’re not using it, I feel naked.

—Miles O’Brien

DS9: Broken Link

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

eBook
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark E. Lasbury .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2017 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Lasbury, M.E. (2017). Cloaking Devices: Vanishing Into Thin Space. In: The Realization of Star Trek Technologies. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40914-6_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-40914-6_2

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-40912-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-40914-6

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics