Technology that delivers less than its name promises

Don't be lured by what the words imply. Instead consider what the technology actually does.


Invisibility cloaks sound like a lot of fun, and the good news is that they really do exist. But the reality, for now at least, is not nearly as fantastical as what you imagine.

That's because they've been designed for military purposes. It turns out that typical cloaking technology can be used to make a vehicle's infrared pattern match the land behind it, or to absorb or deflect radio waves to render it near invisible to heat detectors and radar. It's very effective technology, but if you were expecting some sort of Harry Potter invisibility cloak then you're going to be disappointed.

[ Related: Don't look now, but Harry Potter's invisibility cloak just got a big step closer ]

More topically, there's been a huge amount of publicity recently surrounding technology that supports autonomous driving, much of that fueled by Tesla's decision to release its Autopilot software as an over-the-air update to its Model S and Model X vehicles on October 14 last year.

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