Category Archives: Material

Power Fabric – Solar

My cell phone just died and I’m nowhere near a battery charger.

Science Fiction, power

The bane of most mobile devices is the battery.  It’s bulky, heavy, and wears out.  Designers have to make the device fit the battery size and shape.  Consumers have to make sure they’re near a power source to recharge it before it dies.

Now all you need is the right jacket and some light.

 

Enter Dephotex, an energy generating fabric created by Portuguese researchers at the Center for Nanotechnology and smart materials.  Dephotex is a “photovoltaic textile with properties inherent to fabrics: flexibility, low weight, durability, water/dust” (Dephotex: Textiles become photovoltaic).

In the Avar Chronicle novels, this technology is used in verisuits, combat armor, casual clothing, and building material.

Where do you think the best use of Dephotex would be?

Invisibility Cloak

To the right is a picture of my invisibly cloak. That’s me in the middle between my wife and son. As you can see, it completely covers me from head to toe. Let’s just be grateful that it makes me invisible as well as the suit.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have made a three-dimensional object invisible from all angles. (Published in the New Journal of Physics, 25 January 2012.) This is a first, It relies on something called plasmonic metamaterial, a material modified to make light rays arrive as if they had not passed over or been reflected by the cloaked object. The drawback: it’s invisible only if you see microwave “light.”

OK, so now I can finally stick a fork in the microwave and it won’t spark. Big deal. Of course, other applications are coming, including making things really invisible (cancelling the scattering of light between 380 to about 740 nanometers). According to the scientists, there are other limitations, but it may only be a matter of time before we see metamaterial at the checkout for $1.99… or maybe not.

The larger question is, what will the social impact be?

  • What new laws should be enacted with regards to invisibility?
  • Is it polite or even lawful to wear a full-body invisibility suit in public?
  • Why would anyone? Excuse me sir. That’s my seat. I’m already sitting in it.
  • What other creative uses for it will there be?

It will become a verb in 2028: “Quick, someone’s at the door. Meta-sheet that mess in the living room.”

In my novel Recruiting Angles, this technology is used in many forms, most notably the verisuit used by both the Malefics and Sitiri.

If you had this metamaterial, what would you do with it?