Weird Tech: How to make an army invisible

2nd Nov 2007 | 00:00

Weird Tech: How to make an army invisible

Whole tank disappears during secret MoD trials

Invisible tanks and troops, robotic goats and one man's rogue central locking system taking possession of an entire car park... Yep, it's been another strange week in the world of tech.

The Ministry of Defence is well on the way to making tanks invisible, reported the Daily Mail on Tuesday. Apparently a vehicle was made to completely disappear during secret trials conducted last week. It's been confidently predicted that the invisible tanks will be hitting war zones in 2012 (er, good luck disproving that one).

The new technology reportedly uses cameras and projectors to beam images of the surrounding landscape onto a tank. Now we're not military experts, but given America's penchant for friendly fire we're not sure we'd want to be first to test it out.

Over in Tokyo they've invented a cheaper way to make stuff disappear: by feeding it to a robot goat. The brilliantly modelled 1.6m Rocky Mountain robo-goat stands guard at the Edogawa Kyptei boat race course, chomping up losing tickets (happily getting through about 500 a day) fed to it by unlucky gamblers.

Super satnav strikes again

It's been a week of vehicle hell for a few unfortunate souls. A Czech lorry driver spent three nights in his 40-tonne articulated lorry after being directed down a narrow country lane in rural Devon by his satnav.

Unable to ask locals for better directions, the driver became wedged on a sharp bend between high hedges on both sides and an overhead pipe. Residents were forced to make lengthy diversions for several days after the haulage company owning the lorry refused to pay for an expensive recovery operation at the weekend, the Times reported.

Ever found yourself sat in a queue just to get out a car park? If so, take note from an unnamed Kent motorist who hit the news this week. More than a dozen motorists were left stranded in a car park after his car's central locking system malfunctioned and took control of the surrounding vehicles.

It was the last straw after a series of mysterious goings on including alarms spontaneously going off and sporadic difficulties with locks. Council officers had suspected a rogue transmitter or wireless broadband unit to be responsible but police were unable to trace the problem. Ofcom was finally called, and a small family car was eventually discovered to be intermittently sending out signals blocking other key fobs in a 50 metre radius.

Round-up in brief

An armed stand-off ended with a robot shot and a man in hospital in America (where else?), Plant Intelligence is - possibly - on the up, Sony harnessed Wi-Fi to pinpoint noodle shops, and in case you needed it - here's a handy guide to whether or not a website sucks.

And finally...

A German teenager escaped from prison by hiding in her fellow inmate's suitcase when her friend was released from jail last week. Apparently the girl simply walked out the grounds with the fugitive concealed in her luggage.

Quite how security officers didn't become suspicious at the girl lugging the suitcase plus body out the building is unknown. However, the lesson has been learnt, and that's the most important thing. "Our staff are going to make sure they inspect big suitcases more carefully in the future," said a spokesman.

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