For several years, researchers at various institutions have been working on technology that could have the effect of a Harry Potter-like “invisibility cloak.” We’ve even seen some innovations that claim to camouflage people perfectly with their surroundings and another that attempts to hide a military tank.
New research is demonstrating what scientists call one of the simplest — yet still impressive — forms of cloaking techniques.
“To preserve the phase of wave, the previous cloaking solution proposed by Pendry et al. required transforming electromagnetic space around the hidden object in such a way that the rays bending around it have to travel much faster than those passing it by. The difficult phase preservation requirement is the main obstacle for building a broadband polarization insensitive cloak for large objects,” the study’s abstract reads. “Here, we suggest a simplifying version of Pendry’s cloak by abolishing the requirement for phase preservation as irrelevant for observation in incoherent natural light with human eyes that are phase and polarization insensitive.”
In doing so, the researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou in China were able to make an “invisibility cloak” out of materials they say are commonly available to hide a goldfish and a cat.
Watch the technique at work:
Using prisms, the researchers were able to hide the fish in an aquatic environment and a cat in a terrestrial environment. The “cloak” itself is described as being made of six pieces of optical glass in a hexagonal container that effectively bends the light to hide objects when viewed from certain angles.
The study calls the idea a “step toward practical application of invisibility cloaking in hiding large-scale creatures in plain sight.”
The Guardian called the technique rudimentary still but more advanced than earlier forms.
Sir John Pendry at Imperial College London, whose technology the recent research is based on, also told the Guardian this latest research is “a genuine step forward.”
The scientists foresee further development of the cloaking technique, which could have applications in everything from security to entertainment to surveillance.
(H/T: Daily Mail)