Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia last week revealed their blueprint for an “acoustic cloak”, which could make objects impervious to sound waves. The scientists told reporters that the key to a practical device are so-called “sonic crystals”, artificial composites that can be engineered to produce specific acoustical effects. They would be used to channel any sound around an object, like water flowing around a rock in a stream. They said it could have many applications. Walls of the material could be built to soundproof houses or it could be used in concert halls to enhance acoustics or direct noise away from certain areas. They believe the military may also be interested, to conceal submarines from detection by sonar or to create a new class of stealth ships. However, the admitted the “cloak of silence”, as it has been dubbed, is still on the drawing board and will require a lot of work before it becomes a reality.


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