There's a Cheap And Easy Way to Turn Things Invisible | Smart News | Smithsonian
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There's a Cheap And Easy Way to Turn Things Invisible

Real invisibility cloaks are a long way off, but here's a handy—if somewhat limited—replacement

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For a certain set of engineers, chemists, physicists and materials scientists, building an invisibility cloak is the ultimate goal. And, surprisingly, they're actually making progress on that front. Since 2006, researchers have rolled out increasingly effective devices and materials made to obscure objects from view.

But while the high-tech invisibility cloaks of the future, powered by “transformation optics” ora “metamaterials,” are certainly fancy and flashy, they can't hold a candle to the old-school approach to invisibility, offered up by Ross Exton and the crew at the At-Bristol Science Center.

In the video above, Exton shows how different types of fluids bend light in different ways. By picking a liquid with the right “refractive index” you can make things disappear from view.

Now if we could only convince the world's militaries to fight all their battles in a big pool of glycerine, the Pentagon could stop spending so much researching cloaking technology.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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