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How Chinese scientists made a kitten and goldfish disappear using a light-bending 'INVISIBILITY CLOAK'




Researchers from the Zhejiang University, China and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore use light refraction in a novel way
'Invisibility cloak' made of glass works by bending light around an object at its centre to make it invisible to a viewer standing in a certain place
The scientists hope that one day the technology could have security, entertainment, and surveillance applications







Scientists have revealed the optical trickery behind an 'invisibility cloak' that has been shown to make a kitten and goldfish mysteriously disappear.
In a video demonstrating the team of Chinese and Singaporean researchers' work, a kitten and goldfish are hidden from view using the 'cloak' - which is not like the flowing material version worn by Harry Potter but carefully arranged thin panels of glass.
The cloak works by bending light around an object in the centre of a specially-designed glass construction to make it invisible to a viewer.
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The video of the disappearing animals had baffled some viewers, but now the scientists behind the 'magic' have revealed the shape of the device and how it works.
The video begins by showing a kitten seemingly disappearing behind a cloak or tubular screen and then a goldfish swimming until it disappears inside a similar cloak so that only its wriggling tail remains visible to the viewer.
Researchers from the Zhejiang University, China and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have found a way to use light refraction to render objects invisible using their cloak, which is actually a cleverly-designed hexagonal array of panels of glass.





The goldfish in the video appears to disappear behind the invisibility cloak, leaving just its wiggling tail visible



Zheng Bin, a researcher at Zhejiang University, told China View that the light humans see bounces off an object before it reaches our eyes.
'We found that if we could control the path of the light, we could make the object invisible.'
He said this means that they have worked to make the light bypass the object they want to hide, but still enable the light to reach a human's eyes.







Here the mystery of how the goldfish disappears is revealed. Light enters the hexagonal 'cloak' and when the goldfish enters, it bends around the object


Taken out of the goldfish tank, it is possible to see the composition of the invisibility device and its clever construction, which consists of carefully-placed plates of glass
Dr Bin said: 'When light goes through this device it disperses sideways and follows a certain path to reach the same point as if it didn't encounter any objects, so visually it seems that the object inside has disappeared.
Researchers from the Zhejiang University, China and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, made the 'cloak' from glass as it is transparent, and does not need to be impregnated with expensive nanotechnology, as human eyes are not sensitive to light's minute delay, Shanghaiist reported.
Chen Hongsheng, team leader of the research at the university, said the invisibility effect is currently only apparent if one looks at the object from a certain direction.


A diagram showing how the device works. When light goes through the device it disperses sideways and follows a certain path to reach the same point as if it didn't encounter any objects, so visually it seems that the object inside it (the light blue hexagonal space at the centre of the structure, which is hollow) has disappeared
Here, it is possible to see the beam of light bending around the hexagonal structure. It is this optical effect, which means the object at the hexagon's centre (such as a goldfish) is hidden from view

The device, pictured here making part of a pencil invisible, is more sophisticated than previous attempts that only work with polarised light or microwaves, which humans cannot see


'There are six angles from which objects can be cloaked,' he said.
The scientists said that they plan on working on the device to make it more effective and add more useable angles as well as making the 'cloak' lighter.
However, the device is more sophisticated than previous attempts that only work with polarised light or microwaves, which humans cannot see.
The team hopes that one day the technology can be developed to ensure that objects cannot be seen from any angle and they claim it could have important security, entertainment, and surveillance applications.


It might be some time until we can wear flexible invisibility cloaks - as seen modelled by Daniel Radcliffe in HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE. But the scientists hope their glass invention will have important security, surveillance and entertainment functions in the future








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