Machine Design

Could Someone be Lurking Right in Front of You?

A team of scientist at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering has demonstrated the first working "invisibility cloak."

Julie Kalista
Online Editor

The cloak deflects microwave beams so they flow around a "hidden" object inside with little distortion, reducing the object's reflection and shadow and making it appear that nothing were there at all. Keep in mind this only works within the confines of the microwave.

The cloak was manufactured using "metamaterials" precisely arranged in a series of concentric circles that confer specific electromagnetic properties. Metamaterials are artificial composites that can be made to interact with electromagnetic waves in ways that natural materials cannot reproduce.

The researchers used a mathematical description to develop a blueprint for a cloak that mimic the properties of the imagined, warped space. The cloak includes strips of metamaterial fashioned into concentric two-dimensional rings, a design that allows its use with a narrow beam of microwave radiation. Despite this progress the technology needed to make an object literally vanish, for now, is itself yet to be seen or shall we say, invisible!

Visit Lee Teshler's Blog to see video and comments regarding the "invisible cloak."

Duke University, Pratt School of Engineering

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