‘Cloak of Invisibility’ Makes You Sort of Invisible
By Jason Kennedy
While it might not a small enough crystal to fit on a loop of metal to make a ring, University of Birmingham researchers have created an invisibility “cloak”–in this case a lump of calcite, according to The Guardian. Objects viewed through the crystal functionally disappear as the light is bent by natural properties of the crystal. You see only a flat surface through it.
A paperweight-sized crystal can conceal a paperclip or pin, so, uh, it’s not the most efficient as of yet. A larger crystal 20 odd feet long and 6 feet thick could hide a large dog, Shuang Zhang, the lead researcher of the project noted. Another problem is that there’s nothing actually making the crystal itself, invisible, though it is translucent.
I guess a third problem is that your invisibility cloak is made of crystal, which isn’t known for being light in the weight department.
Zhang mentioned a practical application of this technology as a revolution to the cosmetics industry. Piling-on-a-ton-of-makeup jokes aside, who’s going to hold a crystal prism to their face all day to hide an unsightly blemish?
It’s interesting to note that the University of Birmingham isn’t alone in developing this technology. The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology announced its own invisibility cloak using Calcite and it’s been voted number 4 in the Physics World’s Top 10 Breakthroughs of 2010. The premise is the same, but a filter is not required according to sources though the object is invisible from only 2 sides and the scale of calcite to object being hidden is also not favorable. Cool, though.
I’ll hold off planning to conceal my villain lair until I can do it without an obvious mountain of translucent rock above it, how about you?