The device, like most cloaking devices works by bending light waves around an object so the background can be seen, but not the object in front of it. In the first movie a cat enters the box and cannot be seen against the background, and in the second a fish swims upward, concealed while it is behind the device, even though the plants behind it can be seen. The teams in China and Singapore did not use meta-materials, but a type of ordinary glass that bends and disperses light.
First, the team placed six thin pieces of glass inside a hollow, transparent hexagonal chamber. The result is a device with six-fold radial symmetry that will cloak an object from six different directions… Next, the team built a larger version of the device that could hide a cat. Unlike the hexagonal device, this cloak only shields an object from viewers directly in front of or behind it, as evidenced by bits of the curious cat disappearing while inside.
It’s not ready for James Bond yet because it only works from one viewing angle, and because the device itself can be seen by its shadows and joins. But it’s yet another step in the direction of the Harry Potter invisibility cloak or the Romulan cloaking device from the Star Trek series. The scientists suggest that the device could eventually lead to “important security, entertainment, and surveillance applications.” Indeed yes, and it might have battlefield implications to hide tanks and guns. It’s going to be harder to hide drones, but you can bet that some team out there is already working on that. I remember the sensation when Kelly Johnson’s Skunk Works came up with the stealth technology that led to the F117A Nighthawk. No doubt some troops in some future conflict are in for a similar surprise.
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