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Scientists Have Invented a Real-Life Cloaking Device — And It Could Cost Less than a New Computer

"It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art."

Image via YouTube

Cloaking devices: they're not just for Harry Potter or Romulan warships anymore.

Researchers at the University of Rochester are publicizing their construction of an invisibility-inducing array, and the simple technology involved might surprise you.

Image via YouTube Image via YouTube

As Reuters reported:

"From what we know this is the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking," said Joseph Choi, a graduate student who helped develop the method at Rochester, which is renowned for its optical research.

In their tests, the researchers have cloaked a hand, a face, and a ruler – making each object appear "invisible" while the image behind the hidden object remains in view. The implications for the discovery are endless, they say.

"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," Choi said. "It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art."

Howell said the Rochester Cloak, like the fictitious cloak described in the pages of the Harry Potter series, causes no distortion of the background object.

Building the device does not break the bank either. It cost Howell and Choi a little over $1,000 in materials to create it and they believe it can be done even cheaper.

Of course, the practical applications might attract professional attention, but the basic thrill of disappearing is what appeals to the average Joe.

"I think people are really excited by the prospect of just being invisible," said University of Rochester physics professor John Howell.

Watch a simple explanation of the cloaking device here:

Take a deeper look at the cloaking device here:

Want to build your own cloaking device?

The University of Rochester has published some instructions to help you get started.

(H/T: Business Insider)

Follow Zach Noble (@thezachnoble) on Twitter

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