Invisibility Becomes Real

In a recent eJournal, by the Department of State featured journalist Sasha Inger referenced the White House google hang out "We the Geeks" featuring (at the time) PhD candidate Nathan Landy. The webchat series started in 2013 in the White House as a way to highlight topics being discussed in the Office of Science and Technology. The office develops policies and advises the president on science and technology matters. In July 2013, “We the Geeks” unveiled the brainchildren of some innovative material scientists, bringing the stuff superheroes are made of into the realm of reality.

The following is a segment from the publication on Invisibility:
“We didn’t set out to make things invisible,” said David Smith, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke University. “The idea of making something as exotic and compelling as an invisible cloak suddenly became a real thing. That’s what we’re doing, just with some caveats.”It started in 2006, when he began working with circuitboard materials — essentially copper on top of plastic. He and graduate student Nathan Landy were able to make waves curve around an object and emerge as though they passed through an empty space. But what hides beneath the “cloak,” which spans just 41 centimeters, can still be seen by human eyes. It is invisible only to electromagnetic waves that transmit signals through devices like mobile phones, laptops and televisions. That means that if the cloak wraps around an object that created interference during a phone call or television show, its “invisibility” could allow for clearer hearing. By bending acoustic waves and channeling them around a submarine,the cloak could conceal a submarine from sonar. Or it could enable doctors to find small tumors that ultrasonic detection often misses. Someday, these inventions may prove so useful that they are woven into daily life with common household objects. Now if only someone could invent a device that predicts the future…