The Science Ability in The Movies

Observerl승인2014.05.21l0호

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Can the science technology in movies be realized? If sci-fi films didn’t stimulate our curiosity and imagination, then fewer people would be expecting the possibilities of realization. Examples include the retina scanning seen in and the multi-touch interface technology shown in the which has actualized perfectly by Microsoft’s surface tablet. However, no one knows what will happen in the future. Let’s learn about science’s abilities which may be translated into reality.

Harry Potter’s Cloak

The optical reason why everybody can see something using their eyes is that people are able to see reflected light. Objects absorb light and reflect the colors which are not absorbed. Therefore, everyone notices colors through reflected light. Then, if we block out the reflected light which may enter our eyes, then will objects be unseen? The sci-fi movies are being realized by the continuous curiosity of humans.
The principle of Harry Potter’s cloak is that light which is coming to the cloak is refracted behind the cloak. As a result, the cloak is unseen to people. But is this possible in natural conditions? It’s absolutely not. Generally, most objects have an index of refraction so it’s very hard to make an unseen object in natural conditions. However, the collaborative research team of Duke University (U.S) and Yonsei University (Korea) succeeded in developing smart meta-materials which can change the refractive index to near-transparency condition. In other words, they developed a material which is able to achieve the realization of Harry Potter’s cloak. These meta-materials are man-made substances which have a characteristic, not be found in nature. This ability already existed in the past but now it’s drawing more attention because of the negative refraction. Also, scientists reached the development phase by applying negative refraction. In short, if an object is covered with smart meta-materials, the light will be refracted behind the object making almost invisible.

Star Wars – Lightsabers (Laser saber)

You may have heard of light sabers. But I will mention it one more time because I can’t exclude light sabers from scientific abilities found in movies. Actually, the light saber’s ability in the Star Wars movies is nearly impossible. How does light crash into each other? The light are overlapping one another, not crashing. That is not viable principle in physics. Also, we know that photons don't have any mass nor do they interact. However, the research team of Prof. Vladan Vuletic and Mikhail Lukin found a way to hold photons which compose light. That is, they made a photon molecule which previously only existed theoretically. As I mentioned earlier, if the two lasers are crossed, they will overlap each other. On the other hand, this photon molecule acts like it has a mass. Therefore, it is able to become a similar structure as molecules can move and interact with each other. In addition, the physical phenomenon which occurs with interaction is similar to Light Sabers. As a result, Light saber development previously regarded as impossibility may soon become possible.

Eternal Sunshine - Deleting Memory

Did you see the scene in the movie where actors delete whatever memory they want to. How many people would think this is possible? Fortunately, the ability to erase the specific memories has been developed for the purpose of curing depression. The research team of Prof. Marijn Kroes at Radboud University (Netherlands) demonstrated that it is possible to delete unpleasant memories by using electro-convulsive therapy. First, the team relaxes patient’s muscle, puts the patient under anesthesia and attaches the electrodes on patient’s scalp. Then, they send an electric current to erase the memories by giving an electric shock. In short, if we send the electric current to the brain, then we are able to block out the area that saves the information or brings back the unpleasant memories. In future, the ability to delete memories may soon be realized.

The Avatar Ability

The ability seen in the movie “Avatar” may be actualized in the real world. The brain waves of monkeys were conveyed to other monkeys which were in a deep sleep. This resulted in monkeys being able to move despite being in a state of sleep. The research team of Harvard Medical School gave commands to the monkey by steering a joystick. They gave a reward to monkeys when they solved a problem through moving of the joystick cursor. After repetitive training, they tried to same experiment while tying the monkey hands. They recorded the brain signals when the monkey attempted to move their tied hands. They passed this signal on to another monkey's spinal cord under a state of anesthesia. Then, the research team was able to see a situation where monkeys steered a joystick while asleep like sleepwalking patients. There are many experiments relating to sending a brain signal to other animal's brain but this was the first time that someone succeeded sending a brain signal from a brain to another animal’s spinal cord.

Simply, we looked at many interesting scientific abilities in movies. Continuous development and effort is good but the ethics or ‘How to use these new abilities?’ is becoming more important matter in society. Unfortunately, all good things can be used to create evil. Therefore, if you are in the science and engineering field, then you must not abuse these amazing abilities for an undue profit. In addition, you must have a pure purpose and practice sustainable development.
Observer  vrai72@naver.com
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