Scientists Are Making Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak A Reality
While watching the various adventures of Harry Potter it was impossible not to become enchanted by the magical tools those lucky Hogwarts kids got to play with. Who can honestly say they didn't wish they could play real, high-flying Quidditch with broomsticks and bludgers and a Golden Snitch buzzing about? Or perhaps you wish you could turn back time like Hermione did with her aptly named Time-Turner. Or maybe you wish for an invisibility cloak of your own that would allow you to slip out of the office unseen and dash off to whatever mischief you could manage. Well, science is finally making up for our decided lack of progress on the Back to the Future Part II-style hoverboard front with the creation of an actual invisibility cloak.
Extreme Tech (via Mental Floss) reports the quest to forge an invisibility cloak has been one that scientists have been toiling away at for the past few years, but the results weren't too worthwhile until researchers at Duke University had a breakthrough. Previous attempts at this technology bent light around an object resulting in the cloaked item giving off an incident light that was a bit of a giveaway. However, Duke's cloak—which is actually a diamond shaped boxed made out of metamaterial—bends electromagnetic waves around the object creating a "flawless" invisibility when it comes to microwaves, which are similar to visible light. So far, the specially designed box has accomplished making a 7.5 by 1 cm cylinder invisible by bending waves that allow you to see what is behind it.
While it's not exactly close to the incredible cloak Harry's dad passed down, Duke's "cloak" is an incredible first step in a complicated process to make bigger and maybe even animate objects invisible. But for now the process is tricky. For one, this metamaterial needs to be carefully arrange to accomplish the effect of invisibility, and still it only works then for the one angle for which it is arranged. Basically, this technology is in its infancy. Still, this proves that invisibility is scientifically possible. So, no one can blame you for plotting your plans for the iCloak now.
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