Becoming invisible at will has long been the purview of comic books and fantasy fiction, not to mention a popular answer to the age old “what super power would you like in real life” question. We can see why, if you are invisible you can eavesdrop on people, rob banks with ease and even scare the heck out of your friends by pretending to be a ghost. Unfortunately, becoming invisible is impossible. It’s up there with immortality and becoming all buddy/buddy with an alien, right? Well, not so fast. Science is on it.
Two researchers at Duke University named David Smith and Nathan Landy have claimed to finally solved the invisibility riddle, thus creating the world’s first form of ‘perfect’ invisibility. Scientists have long wrestled with this technology and, thus far, had only come up with partial invisibility. As you can imagine, that would not be very useful at a bank robbery. The Duke duo, however, has made a centimeter-scale cylinder that is totally invisible to microwaves with help from a diamond-shaped cloaking device. Light passes around the edges of the cloaking metamaterial rather than reflecting back, thus creating true invisibility.
The technology is called transformation optics, and scientists have been trying to get to the bottom of it since 2006 when it was first suggested by fellow Duke researcher David Schurig. Of course, being as how this tech is only available in that diamond-shaped source device, it isn’t exactly wearable yet(unless you are into wearing giant diamond thingies.) The tech could soon be used to field advances in radar, communications or anything involving microwaves. One would surmise it would go from offering up a perfect cloak to making the perfect wearable cloak in no time, though. Failing that, you could always just hang it on the wall.