We've been hearing of special cloaking materials for a while now, and it's still a concept right out of science fiction. The applications the press dreams up are generally far beyond reality, but an article over on Yahoo this morning caught my eye. You know how hard it is to get full wireless coverage, to get every last dead spot covered? What if you could just cloak that building, tower, or tree in the way? Just apply a cloaking material to it, and wireless signals will just bend around it!
I have to admit, it's a cool idea and unlike most of the dreams people come up with for cloaking technology it actually isn't that far beyond the range of possibility. After all, one only has to make signals bend around it for specific frequencies, which is much much easier than the fantasy concept of an invisibility cloak covering everything from infrared to microwave. And perfect invisibility isn't important, a little bit invisible may be just enough to improve coverage. If it could be made feasible economically, it *could* help by being just one more tool in the engineer's toolbox.
But still, can you imagine the pitch? Hi, I'm from ABCD Wireless and your building is blocking my signal from reaching that hot dog stand on the corner. Can I paint it? Don't worry, we have many colors to choose from, even fuscia and hot pink. Yes, the windows too, we have a special rose colored tint for that - even helps with employee morale they say. No I'm sorry sir, your cell phones won't work inside the building anymore, but you really ought to buy a femtocell anyway and ours is on sale now. Oh and by the way, we need to paint that big tree out front also. Yes, every leaf, the EPA swears it's ok - the squirrels love it.
I suppose one pays for roof rights for antennas and for rights of way to bury fiber. Perhaps we will someday be able to purchase surface application rights?
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