For generations, the gadgetry used by our children’s favorite literary heroes and science fiction characters have often led the way for real life technological advancements. From the Flash Gordon comic strip depictions of futuristic space helmets decades before they were actually invented to the stun guns used in the 1960’s Star Trek series, the future is often foretold by the imaginative concepts of our favorite authors and screenwriters. Is Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak next on the horizon?
If the team of University of Rochester researchers led by Professor John Howell and his grad student, Joseph Choi, have anything to say about it, then the ability to render certain objects completely invisible for the average person is just around the corner. A recent news article posted by ExtremeTech on the morning of September 29, 2014 is announcing the new sci-fi contraption.
The technology is still in the early working stages, but a certain level of success has already been achieved. By using a combination of four very complex lenses arranged at certain focal points, Howell, Choi and their team have been able to create an invisible region of reflectivity, as long as the person in question is looking directly into the four-lense device.
But what makes this cloaking system so unique is that the simple lenses could theoretically be constructed in any size and shape imaginable. They work across the entire spectrum of visual light in addition to a few other odd frequencies as well. It is a very simple design in comparison to previous attempts by other noteworthy scientists and inventors, but The Rochester Cloak seems to be providing the most impressive results so far.
Past devices often produced a distorted background that made the cloaking mechanism rather obvious. The Rochester Cloak seems to provide a crystal clear image of invisible reflection that is being called “magical” by many in the scientific community.
In its current state, the invisibility cloak would not work on an entire individual person, but it would be a terrific tool for eliminating automobile blind spots or for allowing medical surgeons to actually see through their own hands when performing very difficult operations.
Don’t expect to see this technology appearing on the shelves of your local Best Buy just yet though. The practical uses of The Rochester Cloak are still a ways off. But the possibilities of rendering ourselves invisible seem more tangible than ever. Who knows? Maybe Harry Potter’s magic wand is currently being developed in another university classroom as we speak as well.