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Science has finally given birth to a portable cloaking device

Cloaking is one of those science fiction technologies that we don’t seem to be able to bring to reality. At least, that’s what we thought. A team of German researchers claims that they have developed a cloaking system that can make small objects, living or otherwise, completely invisible. The best part is that the system is portable and could potentially be taken around for demonstrations.  

If you’re a non-magical being, you might think your chances of becoming invisible are slim to nil. But don’t jump to conclusions just yet: Researchers are now claiming to have developed a portable system that can make small objects, like your keys or pet lizard, disappear from sight. The key to real life invisibility lies in clever optical tricks that bend light around an object, shielding it from detection. In principle, such technology has only been demonstrated for very tiny objects, but now, a group of researchers from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology say they’ve developed a scaled-up system that can be ported around and used for classroom demonstrations. The problem researchers typically run into when they try to bend light around an object lies in compensating for the extra distance the light must travel. Since they can’t very well increase the speed of light in air, the KIT team has developed a silicon-based organic polymer (PDMS), that, doped with titanium dioxide nanoparticles, scatters light waves to slow them down. Once slowed, the light can be sped up again to make up for the longer path around the veiled object.

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