Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak will be here in 5 years

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Well obviously not the rag worn by Daniel Radcliffe in the movies but a real invisibility cloak, one that actually works and makes you invisible to other people. This technology could be here within 5 years.

Now I’m not a scientist so I don’t claim to understand the science behind this (I completely crashed and burned at science at school), so I am hoping that all you science geeks out there can help me out with the nitty gritty details.

It seems that researchers from Purdue University in Indiana are using ‘nanotechnology’ and ‘metamaterials’ along with Einstein’s theory of general relativity to make the cloak.

The cloak will eventually work by “bending light around itself like the flow of water around a stone, which would make both the electromagnetic cloak and the object inside hidden”.

“The whole idea behind metamaterials is to create materials designed and engineered out of artificial atoms, meta-atoms, which are smaller than the wavelengths of light itself” Professor Vladminr Shalaev said.

It’s a pity though that if such a cloak is ever made, the first people who will get their hands on it will be… the US military!   The chances of people like you and me getting our hands on it will be very slim indeed!

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4 Responses to Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak will be here in 5 years

  1. Somebody completely enclosed by an invisibility cloak would not be able to see out — the light coming in that would normally hit your eyeballs (or a sensor like a video camera) would be routed around to make you invisible from the rear. This could be mitigated by, I suppose, deciding you only wanted to be invisible when viewed from certain directions, or you could poke a small hole in the cloak to see out, or you could design the cloak to allow a small frequency band in so you could still see. But each one of these is a compromise that degrades the cloaking ability. And, it doesn't address issues with radiation being generated from WITHIN the cloak (example: engine heat).

  2. Somebody completely enclosed by an invisibility cloak would not be able to see out — the light coming in that would normally hit your eyeballs (or a sensor like a video camera) would be routed around to make you invisible from the rear. This could be mitigated by, I suppose, deciding you only wanted to be invisible when viewed from certain directions, or you could poke a small hole in the cloak to see out, or you could design the cloak to allow a small frequency band in so you could still see. But each one of these is a compromise that degrades the cloaking ability. And, it doesn’t address issues with radiation being generated from WITHIN the cloak (example: engine heat).

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