Ask anyone what kind of superpower they’d want to have, and you’ll usually get a few common answers…
The ability to fly.
They all seem pretty appealing… but ultimately, not possible.
Or is it?
Scientists in Singapore have actually discovered how to make solid objects disappear from view by bending light around them.
At the Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies at Nanyang Technological University, Assistant Professor, Zhang Baile is working on a concept usually considered the realm of magicians and illusionists.
It’s called an “invisibility block.”
By carefully positioning and angling blocks of glass, he’s managed to hide objects by bending light around them in a certain way.
Obviously, this has potential applications for the military and surveillance activities, but Baile says it has much more mundane uses, too: “For example, inside a building, if you have some unsightly pipes, wires, or structures you want to hide, then you can use this design to hide them.”
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Using the same principles, Zhang has developed a hexagonal block of glass that can hide objects in water from six different directions, using the water’s own properties of refraction.
The research marks a big step forward toward an idea that’s more suited to science-fiction and the dream of having a superpower like invisibility.
As the Director of the Centre for Disruptive Photonic Technologies, Nikolay Zheludev, says, “This is the first time a macroscopic object, such as a cat, or a fish can be cloaked.”
So will we all be soon be wandering around, invisible to each other?
Well, don’t bank on that just yet. But by using a scientific concept, these researchers have discovered how to make the impossible possible – and put it to practical use.
Tech & Innovation Daily Research