Scientists at the University of Rochester have discovered a way to hide large objects from sight using inexpensive (less than $100) and readily available lenses.
The so-called Rochester Cloak is not really a tangible cloak at all. Rather the device looks like equipment used by an optometrist. When an object is placed behind the layered lenses it seems to disappear.
Previous cloaking methods have been complicated, expensive, and not able to hide objects in three dimensions when viewed at varying angles, they say.
"From what, we know this is the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking," said Joseph Choi, a graduate student who helped develop the method at Rochester, which is renowned for its optical research.
In their tests, the researchers have cloaked a hand, a face, and a ruler – making each object appear “invisible” while the image behind the hidden object remains in view. The implications for the discovery are endless, they say.
"I imagine this could be used to cloak a trailer on the back of a semi-truck so the driver can see directly behind him," Choi said. "It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art."