Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering Research 3D Sound Cloak Technology
Those nutters at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering have come out of their labs to inform us that 3D sound cloaking technology is theoretically possible. What the F is 3D sound cloaking? Well, it seems that using special acoustic material would “essentially open up a hole in space and make something inside that hole disappear from sound waves.”
The announcement almost a year after the same group built a device that could deflect microwave beams forcing the energy to flow around an object with not too much distortion. Distortion is what makes the object appear in the two dimensional realm based on the Imperial College London theory. You still with us? In order to do this, the group built a series of concentric circles made up of “metamaterials (artificial composites) that can be made to interact with electromagnetic waves in ways that natural materials cannot reproduce.” At the time of the announcement the group stated that this discovery was just a baby step in cloaking technology.
This new acoustic veil would do for sound what the aforementioned “invisibility cloak” did for microwaves, namely allowing sound waves to travel seamlessly around it and emerge on the other side without distortion.
“Such a cloak might hide submarines in the ocean from detection by sonar or improve the acoustics of a concert hall by effectively flattening a structural beam,” said Steven Cummer, Jeffrey N. Vinik Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.
As in the case of the microwave cloak, the properties required for a sound cloak are not found among materials in nature and would require the development of artificial composites dubbed metamaterials.
The engineering of acoustic metamaterials lags behind those that interact with electromagnetic waves (i.e. microwaves or light), but “the same ideas should apply,” Cummer said.