You wouldn’t know what other novelty elements to expect from the Japanese train industry these days, since only two years ago they’ve ferried passengers across the country inside the 600 km/hour levitating bullet train. However, Japan has come up with another futuristic plan that’s going to turn their trains into INVISIBLE speeding bullets.
The man who designed the concept is Kazuyo Sejima, an architect from the Japanese firm Sanaa, who recently obtained a Pritzker Prize, which is the Nobel Prize of architecture. His vision is extremely complex and it not only aims at creating new invisible trains, but also reinstate the technology to the previous models. The invisibility cloak is a revolutionary concept, and it won’t turn the entire vehicle invisible as you would imagine, but rather apply a super-reflective material to its coating that’s going to blend in with the environment.
The invisible express was set to hit the tracks as soon as 2018, however, it seems to still be in development. It’s going to cover over 178 km (111 miles) throughout the island of Japan.
“The limited express travels in a variety of different sceneries, from the mountains of Chichibu to the middle of Tokyo, and I thought it would be good if the train could gently co-exist with this variety of scenery,” Sejima declared in a press conference.
There isn’t much information available for the time being, but according to Deezen magazine, the exterior will be foiled in this reflective material, and is also going to gain an overall silver-bullet look.
“An initial rendering shows a semi-reflective surface covering the exterior of the train – something which Sejima claimed had ‘never been seen for now’,” Deezen reports.
If this doesn’t sound impressive enough for you, keep in mind that after this technology will be made public, it will spread to the automobile industry, and soon enough, the way we travel by car will be forever changed. As a matter of fact, Land Rover presented a similar concept in 2014, at the New York International Auto Show. This daring initiative was dubbed the “transparent bonnet,” and it aims at making the front of your car literally transparent, so you’ll be able to admire the view like never before.
While the technology behind invisibility cloaks has been disappointing so far, A.J. McCarthy believes that we’re not far off from achieving it in the near future.
“While we’re on the record as being skeptical about the viability of invisibility cloaks and other sci-fi staples of that ilk, this is a different thing entirely: Land Rover is merely mimicking the appearance of transparency,” he reported for Slate. “Using cameras mounted in the grill, the view from underneath the hood is simply relayed back to the heads-up display and projected onto the windshield, therby giving drivers an unparalleled look at the road between their wheels.”
The video below offers a glimpse of what is to come. Although there’s no certainty that Land Rover will transpose their concept into reality, the idea of self-driving cars that would allow for passengers to relax and admire the surroundings from a novel perspective is sure to rise some excitement. Until that time comes, the cloaked train from Japan and the flying cars from Tesla will make sure to innovate the way we travel. And luckily enough, they have the release dates already set up. (source)