Not your everyday “overhead” projector trick

This seems perfectly believable when you’re reading about a fictional world filled with witches, wizards and centuries-old magic; but in the real world, such a garment would be impossible, right? Not so fast. With optical-camouflage technology developed by scientists at the University of Tokyo, the invisibility cloak is already a reality.

Optical camouflage delivers a similar experience to Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, but using it requires a slightly more complicated arrangement. First, the person who wants to be invisible (let’s call her Person A) dons a garment that resembles a hooded raincoat. The garment is made of a special material that we’ll examine more closely in a moment. Next, an observer (Person B) stands before Person A at a specific location. At that location, instead of seeing Person A wearing a hooded raincoat, Person B sees right through the cloak, making Person A appear to be invisible. The photograph on the right below shows you what Person B would see. If Person B were viewing from a slightly different location, he would simply see Person A wearing a silver garment (left photograph below).

an invisibility cloak before and during use

via HowstuffWorks

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