invisibility-cloak-how-stuff-worksDear Kid,

At today’s soccer game, the need to invent invisible referees once again became apparent. Somehow I always (yes, always) manage to sit at the exact spot where the line judge will choose to plant his or her feet. Yesterday one of the line judges was about the diameter of a pencil, but more typically I sit behind someone who has a significant behind to sit behind.

I was talking (shocker, I know) to a dad from the other team about the need for this invention. First he laughed and said, “You have too much time on your hands, don’t you?” Being a polite sort of person, I did not spit in surprise at the very notion of too much time. I was about to respond with something witty, when he said, “You know, we really do have the technology to make that happen.”


Invisible people?

I was so stunned I said nothing. (Make a note. It does happen occasionally.)

He went on to explain that in his opinion there were two options. One: do away with sideline judges by using chips in the ball and cameras from different angles and such (eh) or Two: use some super cool technology to more or less make the line judge invisible. I opted for Box Number 2 rather than whatever was behind the curtain.

He went on to explain that there is a fair amount of scientific research aimed at rendering things invisible. Some things are invisible only to microwaves (not sure why you’d want to be visible to the human eye but invisible to microwaves, but I’m sure there is a good reason). And there is technology that works as long as you’re small enough to live in a Petri dish (I have yet to meet a referee, no matter how fit, that would live happily in a Petri dish).

There is also technology that is basically a tee-shirt where the front acts like a camera and the back acts like a projection screen so someone behind the tee-shirt sees whatever the front of the tee-shirt sees. Voila! Floating head, invisible torso, legs running around trying to catch up. Useful and hilarious.

I went to the website How Stuff Works which has fab-o info on real life invisibility cloaks. Pages of good stuff. Which I plan to go back and read sometime when I’m not quite so tired. Like 2035. The point is, not only is there real science about this, there are real world applications that make pursuing the science a pretty nifty idea. Well, not for me, since I’m pretty sure I’d set the research back a decade or so. But for someone who has a clue about this sort of thing.

Real world applications they talk about including making the bottom of a cockpit clear so pilots can see the ground when they are landing. And making a surgeons hands invisible so they can see everything when they are operating (I think that would take some getting used to).

Before you ask, I double checked and there was no mention anywhere of using this technology to make referees invisible. Sometimes science is very short-sighted if you ask me. I’m sure they will think of it—it will just take a little longer.

Now all we have to do is figure out the science of getting folding chairs to make coffee at the game and I’ll be all set.

Get your highly visible self to bed at a reasonable hour, kiddo.

Love, Mom