Harry Potter is not the only one to have an invisible cloak. Scientists at the University of Rochester have created an invisible cloak and guess what? Without any magic!
The researchers have developed an optical illusion device, which they refer as an invisibility cloak or Rochester Cloak, with the help of easily available lenses. The invisibility cloak can make objects disappear using simple principles of physics.
John Howell, a physics professor at the University of Rochester, and Joseph Choi, a doctoral student at the university, reveal that they have made the Rochester Cloak for about $1,000 and they think that it can be created at a cheaper price.
Harry Potter's invisibility cloak is believed to have inspired many scientists to research on invisibility cloaks. Howell and Choi may have created the Rochester Cloak, which has the ability to hide objects, but it does not work in the same way as Harry Potter's.
Howell and Choi explain that they have developed a combination that includes four standard lenses. The device made of these four lenses has the ability to hide an object from an optimal viewing angle of a viewer.
"This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum," says Choi.
Howell revealed that cloaking designs made by other scientists work well only when a viewer looks at an object straight. However, if the viewer changes the viewing angle even slightly then the object becomes visible. Choi explains that prior cloaking devices may shift the background drastically, which makes the presence of a cloaking device very obvious.
The scientists revealed that to develop a cloaking device, which can hide an object as well as not affect the background, they had to determine the type of the lens and its power. The scientists also had to understand the distance needed to separate the lenses to achieve invisibility. Howell revealed that their cloaking device can hide objects and viewers can also change their angle of view.
"There was no discontinuity in the grid lines behind the cloaked object, compared to the background, and the grid sizes (magnification) matched," explained the researchers.
Howell and Choi suggest that the cloaking device technology may be applied in larger scale using bigger lenses. The cloaking device can also be applied in many fields. The scientists suggest that the technology can be used by a surgeon who can effectively look via his hands to see what he is operating. The technology can also be helpful for drivers who want to see through bling spots.
Check out a short video clip of the cloaking device.