Many children and even some young adults have at least once dreamed of an invisibility cloak , inspired by the renowned Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Young Mr. Potter and his friends went on valiant quests for adventure and the fight against evil using the cloak. The invisibility cloak has incites excitement and thrill in many fans.
Well soon, we may have access to our personal invisibility cloaks. There’s only one thing. We won’t have the magic aspect of it, but instead nanotechnology.
The “invisibility cloak” scientists are developing won’t be exactly like that of the wizarding world. Two years ago researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany created pentamodes, or mechanical metamaterials. Recently, scientists found an interesting property of metamaterials: the ability to conceal or “cloak” foreign bodies hidden within it. This discovery is fascinating because it opens up possibilities unthinkable before, such as camping gear (sleeping bags on which you won’t feel any rocks or branches underneath) and shoes that feel like you are walking on air (unlike current products that claim to do the same but only partially do the job).
The material is polymer-based, built at a millimeter scale, and has a structure that shapes itself around an object and disperses pressure in a manner that human touch can’t detect its presence. To put it in another perspective of the princess from The Princess and the Pea slept on just one thin sheet of nanotechnology with a pea underneath, she would feel nothing.
In addition to its amazing properties, the metamaterial is quite asceticly pleasing and incredibly light. This unique structure is made using Nano scribe’s 3D laser lithography.
As of now, this project is purely for research, but its likely that sooner or later some company will commercialize this technology.