Researchers at the University of Rochester driven perhaps by Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, recently developed several ways using some complex lenses to conceal objects from view and made an ‘invisibility’ cloaking device.
The latest effort overcomes some of the limitations of previous devices, like distortion of the background that made the cloaking of the object apparent.
“There’ve been many high tech approaches to cloaking and the basic idea behind these is to take light and have it pass around something as if it isn’t there, often using high-tech or exotic materials,” said John Howell, a professor of physics at the University of Rochester.
“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum,” told Joseph Choi, PhD student, Rochester’s Institute of Optics who is working with physics professor Joseph Howell at the university.
The lenses used in the process are easily available materials and inexpensive.
Cloaking is a routine by that an intent becomes dark from view, and the surrounding of the cloaked intent appears undisturbed. When an intent is placed behind a layered lenses it seems to disappear.
Previous cloaking methods were complicated, expensive, and not able to hide objects in three dimensions when viewed at varying angles, they say.
In February 2013, at a US tech conference, Dr. Baile Zhang, an assistant professor of physics, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore showcased his “invisibility cloak.” However, that failed at various angles.
Similar efforts have been made by the scientists at London’s Imperial College, Duke University and the University of Texas. The first success in “cloaking” an object was achieved in 2006, after which the Imperial College researchers laid out their theory for others to copy.
During the tests, the researchers have cloaked a hand, a face, and a ruler – making each object appear “invisible” with the rest behind the hidden object remains in view.
“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.”
The whole set up cost Howell and Choi a small over $US1000 ($1140) in materials and they believe it can be finished at even economical price.