A team of Duke University scientists have developed a garment that is able to completely conceal a small object. Using a row-by-row design of fiberglass etched with copper and copper strips, the intricately woven cloak bends light around an object so that it appears invisible to microwaves and the naked eye. This design is an improvement on a 2006 prototype that, due to a less precise fabrication process, continued to reflect light around the edges of the concealed object, leaving it partially exposed.
Researcher Nathan Landy explains:
We built the cloak, and it worked. It split light into two waves which traveled around an object in the center and re-emerged as the single wave with minimal loss due to reflections.
There are, however, drawbacks to this research. So far it has only been able to hide objects so small they are not visible to the naked eye anyway, and that success has predominantly been in wavelengths longer than what the eye can see, such as infrared, microwaves and radio. Also their current design is only able to work from one direction – viewed from the side the object would be completely visible.
Moving forward, the Duke team plans to use their latest findings to work toward a fully three-dimensional illusion. Until then, we will have to keep waiting.