In The Mail Online, James Rush provides fascinating information on an invisibility cloak, designed by scientists, that is big enough to hide a human or a satellite orbiting earth. Can the search for Planet Q’onoS be far behind?
Over the last ten years scientists have investigated two main ways of creating invisibility cloaks, according to the MIT Technology Review.
‘Transformation optics’ involves bending light around an object to make it look as if it wasn’t there.
Metamaterials meanwhile are synthetic substances which can also achieve the same aim through using certain optical properties.
Neither technology is perfect, but John Howell, from the University of Rochester, New York, and Benjamin Howell have now shown how to build a device big enough to cloak a person using an array of lenses and mirrors to steer light around a region of space.
A major caveat in the design is that they only work in one direction – viewing the cloaks from any other pint of view reveals the device.
But the Howells have said: ‘The devices may have value, for example, in cloaking satellites in mid to high-Earth orbit.’
Earlier this week, scientists unveiled a ‘time cloak’ which bends light to tear holes in time itself.
The device could have important implications for sending secret messages via fibre optic cables.
It can hide a continuous stream of events at telecommunications data rates – much quicker than a similar invention unveiled last year.
Researchers used equipment known as modulators to make the holes by bending light, Nature reported.
Although a long way off the fictional ‘invisibility cloaks’ featured in Star Trek and the Harry Potter films the concept could have practical applications to conceal messages.