Invisible Cloak Technology

Invisible Cloak Technology

From childhood, we dreamt to be invisible like Harry Potter with a magical cloak. But with modern technology & science is that really possible? Let’s check out its origin, adaptation & current scientific updates.

Origin of Invisible Cloak

The invisible cloak is mainly adapted from mythologic terms. It’s mainly a fictional theme which is mainly found in Welsh, German & in some cases probably in Greek myths. According to these myths using certain special cloaks, people can become invisible. However, these myths are mainly found through folklore & storytelling as there is no actual evidence of the existence of these kinds of fabric or cloak before.

Adaptation in fictional Literature & Entertainment

Ancient myths still inspire our art, culture, fashion & entertainment. The invisible cloak inspired a lot of things in the modern era or pre-modern era. A lot of fictional novels are based on these kinds of stuff. In the modern-day several movies & series adapted these mythological terms. Cloaks of Invisibility also existed in Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The Hobbit series also adapted idea like invisible/magic cloak. The most interesting fact is most of the audience appreciated these mythological terms in entertainment & novel culture. However, getting inspired by fantasy, humans are now trying to create such stuff using modern technology & science.

Scientific Research & Technology

There is been a lot of work happening related to cloaking devices since 2006. Two scientists from Duke University made it possible to render an object invisible for the first time. The cloak was made of “Metamaterial”. It’s generally not found in natural materials. (Although the concept of Metamaterial started in 1967). That special cloak routed microwaves in such a way that makes our eyes emerge as if there is nothing or the object is invisible. However, the research continued more & scientists from Berkeley Lab & University of California added a new dimension to it. They believed that cloaking at optical frequencies is quite possible. At the beginning of 2011, they announced a new cloaking system that was effective in visible lights and can hide macroscopic objects. Natural birefringence of calcite was used in it. When we look at something, we identify its colour because it absorbs all the colour except for the colour that is associated with that object. The wavelength bounces of that object and goes into our eyes which is processed by our brain. So, to deceive our vision an invisibility cloak would have to stop reflecting light back from objects to our eye. By making the wavelengths of light avoid the objects one can do that. Similarly, some cloaking technology can divert wavelengths of light around the edges of an object instead of deflecting them back to our eyes. By this, our brain thinks absent of a certain object. The new cloak created by the University of California doesn’t curve light waves around the object, but reflects and diverts a malformed version of those wavelengths, and thus makes the object undetectable. They used a close-fitting “metasurface” which is made of a light-thin insulator material flecked with gold rectangles that absorb and then emit light waves in a way that eyes can’t identify. The material’s thickness is less than a micrometre as a result it can be wrapped around objects like skin. However, the latest cloaks advantage is that it can cover objects with neat sharp edges, which was proven highly challenging with cloaks in the past.

Problems that Scientists are facing

To create invisible cloaks scientists are facing a lot of problems. One of them is the high dispersive nature of these materials. Besides light passing through them sometimes gets partially absorbed. There is also some issue with movement. The movement of objects may create a problem with invisibility.

Latest Update

Although perfect cloaking is still impossible scientists are trying for its advancement throughout new compound or metal. detectors like microphones, radar or waves and sources such as loudspeakers can still identify object hidden with the latest cloaking tech. But scientists also expect to make perfect cloaking if a particular formula is used to calculate the signals to be fed to the sources. Currently, scientists are working with the metasurface concept in this technology.

Stealth Aircraft by the United States. Courtesy: Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Stealth Aircraft by the United States. Courtesy: Image by WikiImages from Pixabay

Current Use & Future Projects:

Although invisible cloaking’s core idea came from myths and fantasy it may be a useful and game-changing revolution for the world, especially in military tactics. Soldiers can disguise themselves with such kind of cloaks during the war. Even probably a whole bunch of arms, camps can be hidden using such technologies. Countries like the United States already working to manufacture stealth aircraft & it has been reported that the British army has also tested something like “Invisible tank”. However, researchers are excited about this new surface as It could eventually open doors to new exciting applications.

By Team Stalwart,

Mentor: Sumita Bhattacharja Joly (2018-1-6-007) Dept: Textile Fashion & Design

Leader: Shariful Islam Akash (2019-1-6-040)    Dept: Textile Fashion & Design

Executive: Nashita Ahmed (2020-1-10-041)      Dept: Environmental Science & Engineering


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