Now there’s an invisibility cloak that actually works

By using simple, inexpensive, and readily available materials, researchers at at the University of Rochester have developed an optical system that can actually hide objects in the visible spectrum of light.

According to the researchers, the new device is the first to do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum.

Now, while the new system developed by the University of Rochester researchers won’t conceal you completely, it could eliminate blind spots in vehicles or let surgeons see through their hands during complex operations.

From Rochester University:

Many cloaking designs work fine when you look at an object straight on, but if you move your viewpoint even a little, the object becomes visible, explains Howell. Choi added that previous cloaking devices can also cause the background to shift drastically, making it obvious that the cloaking device is present.

In order to both cloak an object and leave the background undisturbed, the researchers determined the lens type and power needed, as well as the precise distance to separate the four lenses. To test their device, they placed the cloaked object in front of a grid background. As they looked through the lenses and changed their viewing angle by moving from side to side, the grid shifted accordingly as if the cloaking device was not there. There was no discontinuity in the grid lines behind the cloaked object, compared to the background, and the grid sizes (magnification) matched.

The Rochester Cloak can be scaled up as large as the size of the lenses, allowing fairly large objects to be cloaked. And, unlike some other devices, it’s broadband so it works for the whole visible spectrum of light, rather than only for specific frequencies.

Read the scientific paper here. It’s slated for publication in the journal Optics Express.