MOVE over Harry Potter — the invisibility cloak is fast becoming a reality even for muggles.
Scientists have been working for some time on developing tools to aid invisibility, including 3D printed invisibility cloaks and an invisibility device created at Duke University, From Quarks to Quasars reports.
The latest efforts come from physicists at the University of Rochester, who have invented an “invisibility producing array” that has so far cloaked a hand, a face and a ruler.
Focusing in on various objects using the device, they appear see-through, with the image behind the object remaining in focus. Because you could still the ‘disappeared’ object if you moved around behind the device, it has been compared to hiding behind a rock — only effective from one angle.
While it may not guarantee the ability to actually render oneself invisible, the device may have some very practical uses, says graduate student Joseph Choi: “I imagine this could be used to cloak a trailer on the back of a semi-truck so the driver can see directly behind him. It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art …”
How Does Cloaking Work in the Real World?
Mr Choi, who worked with others to develop the device, explained how it works. “This cloak bends light and sends it through the centre of the device, so the on-axis region cannot be blocked or cloaked.”
Physics professor John Howell adds that the image of whatever is behind the invisible object appears crystal clear.
“From what, we know this is the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking,” Mr Choi says.
The University has generously released a description of how to make your own simple version of the design.