Physics + Math

12
Jun

Ordinary Glass with Extraordinary Properties Cloaks Your Cat

Nadia Drake, writing for Wired: ­

Scientists in Singapore and China have crafted a cloaking device that works in natural light, and they’ve recorded videos of animals disappearing inside it.

This new device, described June 7 in a manuscript uploaded to arXiv.org, works by redirecting light waves around objects inside it. But unlike other recently described cloaking devices built from metamaterials — artificial materials with properties not found in nature — it’s made from a type of ordinary glass that bends and disperses light.

The cloaking device uses six pieces of glass arranged in a hexagon to redirect light, which allowed the researchers to hide a fish from six different viewpoints. The researchers also made a device capable of hiding a cat from two angles. Since it’s made from more prosiac compoents, it’s likely to be cheaper than devices made of metamaterials.

The cloak itself isn’t invisible because of the shadows it casts, but with more tweaking, it could bring us closer to masking large objects and living creatures—the kind of thing we expect from Harry Potter, not reality.