China says it has developed a quantum radar that can see stealth aircraft

Radar is a powerful military tool because it makes it possible to spot enemy aircraft beyond the line of sight. It does this by sending out a burst of radio energy, which bounces back when it encounters another object. So-called “stealth” aircraft try to get around this by becoming invisible to radar — either by using flat, angular shapes to reflect radar signals away from radar equipment or by using materials which absorb radar signals.

So far, so old news, right? Perhaps so, but things could be about to change if a new report coming out of China proves to be correct. At a recent air show in the city of Zhuhai, state-owned Chinese defense giant China Electronics Technology Group Corporation displayed what it claims to be a quantum radar that’s able to detect even the stealthiest of stealth aircraft. The company claims to have been working on the technology for years, and to have tested it for the first time in 2015.

In principle, a quantum radar functions like a regular radar — only that instead of sending out a single beam of electromagnetic energy, it uses two split streams of entangled photons. Only one of these beams is sent out, but due to a quirk of quantum physics both streams will display the same changes, despite being potentially miles apart. As a result, by looking at the stream which remains back home it’s possible to work out what has happened to the other beam.

According to a brochure from the China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, the new quantum radar could “solve the traditional bottleneck [of] detection of low observable target detection, survival under electronic warfare conditions, [and] platform load limitations.”

What’s less clear is whether this is real functioning technology or an example of the Chinese government bragging about some technology which does not yet exist. “Without being able to take the lid off what has been shown here, we can’t be sure if this is an elaborate hoax,” Alan Woodward, a professor of physics at the U.K.’s University of Surrey, told New Scientist.

The demonstration was only available to Chinese media, and foreign press — including a reporter for the publication Aviation Week — were asked to leave. Still, if this does turn out to be legit, it will represent a game changer in the world of stealth aircraft.

Emerging Tech

How MIT hacked horticulture to cultivate a hyper-flavorful basil plant

At MIT, Caleb Harper used his personal food computers to alter the climate in which he grew basil. Exposing it light for 24 hours a day changed the flavor profile of the plant, making it spicier and stronger.
Mobile

You can’t take a selfie with the gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope anymore

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single disk radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding five-kilometer area.
Home Theater

Banish the buffer screen with these tips for silky smooth streaming video

If you’ve been having troubles with streaming Internet videos from Netflix and other services in HD, the problem may be your network. Here’s how to make sure your streaming video experience goes smoothly.
Trash

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Computing

The new Dolby Vision monitors from Asus could be perfect for creative types

Asus is the first to release a Dolby Vision monitor and it's done so with two of them at the same time. They're squarely aimed at professionals but should look gorgeous no matter what they're displaying.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX’s main Falcon Heavy booster is lost at sea after falling off drone ship

SpaceX has lost the center core of its Falcon Heavy rocket after a successful mission last week that ended with it landing on a drone ship. SpaceX said rough seas resulted in the rocket toppling over and falling into the ocean.
Emerging Tech

Sweden is building a road that recharges electric buses that drive over it

The Swedish transport administration is exploring special roads which will charge vehicles’ batteries as they drive over them. It will test the idea with a short sample stretch of road.
Emerging Tech

Scientists manage to 3D print an actual heart using human cells

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have achieved a world-first by 3D printing a small-scale heart, complete with blood vessels, ventricles, and chambers. Here's why that's so exciting.
Emerging Tech

Drown out noisy neighbors and rest easy with these white noise machines

Some people are more sensitive to sound during sleep than others. Luckily, there are a number of white noise machines on the market to mask the noise. Here are our five of our current favorites.
Emerging Tech

Feast your eyes on the wildest, most elaborate Rube Goldberg machines ever built

Want to see something totally mesmerizing? Check out several of the best Rube Goldberg machines from across the internet, including one that serves cake and others that do ... nothing particularly useful.
Emerging Tech

Watch a pack of SpotMini robot dogs perform a terrifying feat of strength

Boston Dynamics' SpotMini robotic dog is now going around in packs, and the results are somewhat concerning. Check out the video to see what kind of shenanigans 10 of them got up to recently ...
Emerging Tech

Notre Dame fire: How drones and a robot called Colossus helped limit the damage

The fire that devastated the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday shocked many around the world. In a bid to prevent even worse damage to the structure, Paris firefighters opted to deploy drones and a robot called Colossus.
Emerging Tech

New gunfire-detection system alerts police of shooters in seconds, not minutes

The Safe Zone Gunfire Detector is a fast gunfire-detection system that could help avert potential tragedies in public places like schools, malls, or anywhere a mass shooting might occur.
Emerging Tech

NASA chooses a special spot for its next crewed moon landing

Following the U.S. government's announcement last month of a desire to see American astronauts set foot on the moon again in the next five years, NASA has revealed a location on the lunar surface where it would most like to land.