Mainland Chinese scientists want to remind us all that they are increasingly confident about the prospect of one day owning a real-life ‘invisibility cloak’, you guys, thanks to the development of technology used to make objects ‘disappear’. Researchers working with the team will also soon announce their latest project, a device that stops objects from being located by heat sensors and metal detectors.
Last month, a team of Chinese and Singaporean researches announced the development of an “invisibility cloak” that has so far successfully made a goldfish and a cat disappear with the use of light-bending technology.
The technology would have obvious military uses, such as developing stealth aircraft, but Beijing believes the research could lead to wider technological breakthroughs with broader uses, scientists involved in the research said.
The main approaches are developing materials that guide light away from an object; creating electromagnetic fields to bend light away from what you are trying to hide, plus copying nature to make high-tech camouflage materials
Professor Ma Yungui, an optical engineering scientist who works out of Zhejiang University, said that the production of a ‘useable, practical’ invisibility cloak is possible, but probably still decades away, as it needs super-materials that are not yet available.
The government, however, is pouring funds into research because greater knowledge of the technology could produce useful spinoffs.
“I went to an international forum on invisibility study in Paris last year and found that at least a third of the researchers came from mainland China,” Ma said. “It seems easy to get funds these days. You ask for it, you get it.’’
Ma also said his team would soon announce their latest discovery: a small device that allows objects to pass heat sensors and metal detectors unnoticed.
Ma’s device is as large as a match box, but it could be increased in size to allow weapons to pass through security checkpoints. Another potential application is to stop special agents or troops moving at night being caught by infrared cameras.
“Many people have asked me if the technology can be applied on fighter jets so they can get heat-seeking missiles off the tail. Well, we may work on that,’’ he said.
Ma belives he and his team have a 40 percent chance of making the world’s first invisibility cloak, as his team has been collaborating with Chinese scientific community and the world’s leading experts of invisibility technology.