Illustration for article titled Now You Can Literally Create Objects Out Of Thin Air

At last, you can make things disappear. Scientists have created a device for disappearing unwanted objects. The crazy part is that it can make objects seem to appear as well.


Physicist Che Ting Chan, of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, told New Scientist:

Invisibility is just an illusion of free space, of air. We are extending that concept. We can make it look like not just air but anything we want.


With his equations, he can make visibility an illusion as well.

The device — which exists only as a design so far — would use existing metamaterial technology . It would create a series of filters that first render one object invisible and then another one visible. Continues New Scientist:

To make a cup look like a spoon, for example, light first strikes the cup and is distorted. It then passes through a complementary metamaterial which cancels out the distortions to make the cup seem invisible. The light then moves into a region of the metamaterial that creates a distortion as if a spoon were present. The result is that an observer looking at the cup through the metamaterial would see a spoon.


Although the technology as envisioned is active — requiring a knowing observer to watch the cup through the metamaterial to see the spoon, it could undoubtedly be made passive. The only current technological roadblock is the need for the metamaterial components to be smaller than a micrometer, as that's the wavelength of visible light. Scientists like John Pendry, who first came up with the theory behind invisibility cloaking, thinks that building it is well within the realm of human capacity.

Modified Invisibility Cloak Could Make The Ultimate Illusion [New Scientist]

[Image via NASA]


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