We’re hanging out for a genuine invisibility cloak here at Gizmodo, and it looks like Chinese research into the problem may have hit on a working approach, although whether it’s a “cloak” is debatable.
The research, online at Scientific Reports comes from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, where they’ve developed a process that uses hexagonal calcite trapezoids glued together; when a cylidrical object is placed in the dead center, light passing through is refracted directly around the object without any visible deviation; as such you see right “through” the object.
This kind of work isn’t new in and of itself; what’s particularly significant here is that it’s a highly simplified way of achieving invisibility that doesn’t rely on the cloak being on a specific surface. It’s capable of masking light coming from up to six directions (hey, it’s a hexagon), but the research indicates it should be feasible to implement this kind of approach for every possible angle.
So it’s still a work in progress, albeit a promising new step. Admittedly, being hexagonal means that this particular cloak won’t be the easiest thing to wear comfortably, but take solace — nobody will be able to tell you’re wearing it anyway.
Images: Hongsheng Chen / Scientific Reports