Pondering The New Technology of Invisibility

No longer the stuff of science fiction, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have successfully rendered three dimensional objects invisible. How does it work? Think about a smooth rock in a river. The water parts when it encounters the rock, flows around it, and then closes up on the opposite side. Someone looking at the water downstream would never guess it had passed around an obstacle. The same principle is being used to create invisibility, except in this case scientists have developed a material that can bend light around 3D objects, making them essentially disappear from sight.

At the moment, the ability to render something invisible takes place on a scale that is measured in billionths of a meter, but scientists believe the technology can be scaled up to make invisibility cloaks big enough to hide a person, a tank or even a ship. There could also be more immediate applications in the fields of telecommunications, radar, and the construction of special lenses for optical microscopes that could focus on things as tiny as molecules.

Tanks, planes, ships…that’s all well and good, but there are much more important uses for this emerging technology. There are SO many things I’d make invisible, if I could. My overflowing laundry basket. The dishes in the sink. And when they perfect the technology well enough to render about a third of my hips invisible I’ll be first in line….

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