Researchers at the University of Rochester have just unveiled a new device that will cloak objects while leaving the surrounding area un-distorted. Even better? The entire device was built for around $1000 using equipment and lenses that you can find yourself. Parallels have already been drawn to a certain boy wizard, but this array is only a very first step towards a sort of shroud or wearable invisibility cloak. Keep reading for more on how this device works.
The “Rochester Cloak” uses a layered series of lenses to obscure an object while leaving the background and surrounding areas unaffected. To go back to our Hollywood/literary examples, imagine Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak versus the Predator’s invisibility. The Predator slightly obscures his surroundings, where Harry does not.
Business Insider provided the following quotes from one of the student researchers.
“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.”
According to the researchers, this technology can be scaled to any size, the only constraints are the lenses used. In it’s current form, this might seem a bit unwieldy for personal use, but there are undoubtedly commercial applications that could benefit. This is, however, an important first step. Invisibility has long been a dream, but it’s very early in its scientific life. More research and testing will be needed to create an miniaturize any sort of personal cloaking device.
Want to build your own? The University of Rochester has provided instructions so that you too can make your hand disappear.
Check out the videos below for more information direct from the researchers.