Toyota Has Patented A ‘Cloaking Device’
From the One Ring to conceal the wearer’s identity to Harry Potter’s disappearing blanket, invisibility has been a fascinating feature of Science Fiction. Scientists have been hard at work to make this technology see the light of day for many years now. Joining the research is Toyota, the Japenese carmaker which has patented a “cloaking device.”
The company recently acquired a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for “Apparatuses and methods for making an object appear transparent,” which Toyota filed on June 17. The company has forayed into the invisibility tech, not to make its cars invisible, but, a part of it at least.
The patent describes the cloaking device designed to turn the A-pillars on the right and left side of the car’s dashboard invisible. The aim to make the pillar invisible is to improve the on-road visibility for the driver. Ironic how making something invisible will improve the visibility on the road, isn’t it? Toyota has said that this is the way to move forward since the A-pillars have become broader to follow crash-safety standards. It’s logical since the wider these pillars are, the more they’ll obstruct the driver’s vision. The cloaking device would use mirrors to bend visible light around the A-pillars to allow the driver to “see” through them. This would give drivers a wider view of the road and their surroundings. It also benefits pedestrians, as drivers would see them better.
Light from an object on an object-side of the cloaking device [i.e., facing the road] is directed around an article [the A-pillars] ]within the cloaking region and forms an image on an image-side of the cloaking device [i.e., facing the driver’s seat] such the article appears transparent to an observer looking towards the object
The way to make things transparent or “invisible” is by manipulating light. Studies around the world currently working on some variant or the other of a possible cloaking device are also trying to do the same. For example, researchers from the Max Planck Institute are working on mimicking the biology of moths’ eyes to turn lenses and glass invisible. All these researches are working on bringing us closer to a technology that can make objects invisible, or at least transparent and Toyota’s venture into the same is proof that a “cloaking device” may just be a few years away from existence.