How Does This Invisibility Cloak Work?


It’s not quite a Harry Potter-caliber invisibility
cloak, but scientists have developed a cloaking device that will hide an object in motion. Hey everyone. Amy here for DNews. In the real
world, invisibility comes down to a trick of light. We see objects because light reflects
off them and hits our eyes. Cloaking an object involves bending the light that hits our eyes
around an object so we can see what’s behind that object but not the object itself. The problem with cloaking devices for a long
time has been that the object being hidden and the person looking at the hidden object
need to be stationary; move at all and you’ll see the object and the cloaking device, destroying
the illusion. But researchers from the University of Rochester
in New York have found a way around that. Or, more specifically, have found a way to
more effectively bend light around an object so it can move and still be invisible to a
viewer. It’s the first device that can cloak multidirectionally in three dimensions, and
they’ve done it using nothing but four standard lenses like you’d find in any lab. The key is in the set up; they figured out
exactly what power of lenses and how far away to space these lenses to cloak a moving object.
With the lenses in a row, light from a background is focussed down to a point through one lens
then diverges out, bending around an object placed in what they call the “cloaking field”
as it moves to be focussed down by the next lens. As long as you’re looking through
the first lens, anything moving within about 15 degrees of the centre of the cloaking field
will remain completely hidden. And it’s a system that can be scaled up using larger
lenses to cloak larger objects. This cloaking setup isn’t quite ready for
a night sneaking around. The scientists from Rochester anticipate more scientific uses
for their setup, like a surgeon being able to operate on a tiny area without having his
view obstructed by his hands. So what do you guys think: are these multi-lens
setups the invisibility cloak of the future? Let us know in the comments below and don’t
forget to subscribe for more DNews every day of the week.

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