Cloak of invisibility

According to Scientific American, we’re getting closer to living out our weird Harry Potter-themed dreams.

Invisibility cloaks.

To be exact, it’s not true invisibility – it’s more of an optical illusion. But it’s getting closer, and the ramifications could be incredible, – at least, if not in real life, then throughout military and espionage fields.

From Scientific American’s site:

“We are not actually cloaking anything,” Valentine said in a telephone interview. “I don’t think we have to worry about invisible people walking around any time soon. To be honest, we are just at the beginning of doing anything like that.”

Valentine’s team made a material that affects light near the visible spectrum, in a region used in fiber optics.

“In naturally occurring material, the index of refraction, a measure of how light bends in a medium, is positive,” he said.

“When you see a fish in the water, the fish will appear to be in front of the position it really is. Or if you put a stick in the water, the stick seems to bend away from you.”

Imagine. You swoop the cloak over your body, effectively rendering yourself invisible, the light from around you cascading in different directions, fooling your enemies like a magician cutting his assistant in half. You’ve gone missing. Secret.

Pretty neat. Of course, I’d rather have the Marauder’s Map. MUCH more useful.

This was lovingly handwritten on August 12th, 2008