In our October issue, we reported on the theoretical and practical work being done to make the fantasy of invisibility a reality [read the article online here]. Yesterday one of those teams of researchers—a Duke University group led by David Smith—announced that they had demonstrated the world’s first working invisibility cloak. And unlike other “cloaks,” which use images projected onto the surface of the item to be hidden, Smith’s actually bends light around the object, making the light behave as if the object isn’t even there.
The cloak, which is less than five inches long, is a synthetic structure composed of copper rings and wires placed onto sheets of fiberglass. Its applicability is limited: It works for only two dimensions and only against a microwave beam. The technology to create an invisibility cloak for regular light, which is made of many different wavelengths, is still decades away. See a video of the new cloak here. —Abby Seiff
The First Invisibility Shield
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.