True invisibility.

As mentioned in my last post, we’re not seeing invisibility cloaks any time soon. But at Rochester University (USA), they have been working on devices that truly allow you to ignore stuff and directly look at what lies behind.

Most methods of making things invisible rely on bending the light around the object you wish to obscure, like the negative refraction discussed previously that required complicated and expensive meta-materials. This method also bends light, but just uses cheap, off she shelf optic lenses you can get anywhere.

The image below shows their cheapest and simplest design. The concept here is that light is bent and forced to pass trough a fine focal area in the middle, ignoring all that lies around it. It can be scaled up or down to whatever size is desired, but is only applicable to “dough-nut shapes”, they do mention to have developed methods that obscure objects entirely without this requirement but these are more complicated.

2014-03-07-howell-cloaking-200-crop-630x228This method, according to them, is extraordinary as it is the first device to provide such extended cloaking for visual light.

From a continuous range of viewing angles, the hand remains cloaked, and the grids seen through the device match the background on the wall (about 2 m away), in color, spacing, shifts, and magnification.

Here’s the link to the full scientific paper: Paper

One can quickly see this method is applicable on two levels, either to hide something you don’t want to see, or to particularly see something that would normally be blocked. I can see this being used as a new category of N.D.T. in the future.  While researching the topic i found someone who proposed it to be used for surgeons, to block out their own hands and tools so they can better see the organs they’re operating on. Sounds like an amazing idea to me !

What to you think? Is it a viable tool? Or is the featured four lens system too complicated to ever be used anywhere?

Here’s the full article from the university itself: Link


2 thoughts on “True invisibility.

  1. While I definitely can see some applications for this technology, from the pictures I notice that a lot of space is being used to hide small objects (please correct me if I’m wrong). Is this really efficient use of space to just hide something?


  2. It would be nice for a surgeon to block out their hands, but like driesholeman said: it seems like it needs some space to do this. I can also see soldiers use it. For example to shoot someone while standing at the end of a wall. You just have to put your arm or gun next to the wall (or have a big gun which can shoot through it) and you will be protected by the wall. Again the dimensions of the lens should be as small as possible here.


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