Cloaked in Secrecy
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Cloaked in Secrecy

April 16, 2015

Cloaked in SecrecyUniversity of Rochester researchers have succeeded in concealing large objects from sight in broad daylight, a method known as cloaking, through the use of inexpensive and readily available lenses. The technique utilizes four lenses—the same type you might find in a pair of glasses—to hide an object in the foreground without disturbing or distorting the background.

The two outer-layer lenses focus light from a wide area onto the two interior lenses. In essence, this setup creates a region where incident light (direct light) can’t reach the object behind the lenses, and reflected light can’t reach the observer—voilà, invisibility. The bigger the lenses, the larger the object that can be hidden.

This discovery is exciting on various fronts. For instance, surgeons might be able to apply cloaking so that they can see through their own hand while performing surgery. Car and truck drivers may be able to utilize cloaking in order to see through something they’re hauling behind them. The technique could also come in handy for interior design and may have military applications (surprise, surprise), among other uses.

This type of invisibility may be a bit clunky compared to the efficiency experienced by Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter, or a Klingon Bird-of-Prey commander, but it’s a step in the right direction. The technique/device is simple, relatively inexpensive (less than $1,000 for the Rochester model), and works at multiple angles. There’s even a YouTube video with instructions for constructing the home version of the “Rochester cloak” for less than $100.

Attorney Richard A. Pignatiello

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