In the not too distant future, girls’ conversation may sound like: -So dress code for tomorrow? -I don’t know, maybe invisible?
If you could wear invisible, what would you do? Start concentrating about your answer instead of what you’ll be actually wearing, since scientists are about to make us disappear, as if by magic.
Physics Points out of Limits
Invisibility is perhaps one of the oldest ideas in ancient mythology. The Greek hero Perseus was able to end the evil Medusa armed with the helmet of invisibility. Invisibility played a central role in Plato‘s theory of ethics and morality. It is also a common ‘trippy’ element in science-fiction that goes from Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak to the ring on The Lord of the Rings (my favorite one).
Invisibility may seem like magic at first, but its underlying concepts are familiar to everyone between scientists -Ignorance is bliss, is it? Not sure. Hint: overall, metamaterials and optic tricks to achieve cloaking; all it requires is a clever manipulation of our perception.
The Timeline for the Real-Life Invisibility Cloak
2006: Almost as a joke, Sir John Pendry was pioneering with a proposal focused in using lenses to bend light to make an object appear invisible. Luckily the proposal was taken more seriously than he thought!
2013: The University of Texas at Austin had the honor to witness a method to make objects appear invisible within a limited range of light waves by using an ultrathin cloak, thanks to their researchers.
2014: A cloaking device with four lenses that can make any three-dimensional object viewed through it appear invisible was developed at the University of Rochester.
2015: Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the University of California devised a microscopic cloak that can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from visible light.
2016: Yang Hao led a study in the UK published in the journal Scientific Reports demonstrating how a so-called “surface wave cloak” can make curved surfaces appear flat when they come in contact with electromagnetic waves which means a way to make such surfaces invisible.
The applications of invisibility break the rules of logic offering an unimaginable summary of possible uses with positives and/or negatives impacts… Up against the wall, huh?
If fashion meets invisibility, this technology might potentially make beer bellies look like six-pack abs. Also it could be used to make cars seem smaller and thus safer, reducing the driver’s blind spots around the vehicle.
Going unnoticed is the dream of many thieves, mad scientists, super-villains and a lot more mentally unbalanced. Will be the invisibility within the reach of all hands?
The advances on the subject bring lots of other camouflaged questions, wonders and mysteries, e. g.: If invisibility is that evident and as tricky as it looks, are there some things around the universe that we are actually missing/not seeing?
In any case, we got to be patient! By now, settle yourself with just having fun being “invisible” on your Whatsapp messenger, ha!