Monday, June 10, 2013

Scientists create invisibility cloak that hides objects in moments of time

Harry Potter's invisibility cloak works by hiding an object visually. On Monday, scientists at Purdue unveiled a cloak that hides an object, not visually, but during a period of time.

Purdue professor Andrew M. Weiner said,
A lot of people have seen the invisibility cloak in the Harry Potter movies. In scientific research terms that is a spatial cloak. What we've done involves time cloaking.
Weiner co-published his findings with Joseph Lukens, a Ph.D candidate in electrical engineering. Their report appeared in the June issue of Nature.

Their methodology method creates moments in time where things -- objects -- can occur undetected. From a high-level perspective it sounds like something out of science fiction, where an object does not exist in time. There have, in fact, been episodes of such series as "Star Trek" where an object or person was invisible because it was out of phase with the current timestream.

Lukens said:
Time cloaking is relatively new. It's based on the idea that there are places in time where if something were to happen it wouldn't be picked up, so no one can tell that it has occurred (a tree falling in a forest with no one around?).

Say you have a light beam (and) speed up the front half and slow down the back half, and you create a place where the light beam splits apart. There is no light intensity there.

If you send a piece of data, but the light beam isn't there, you can't make the record. So if someone depicts the absence of light they will think no data was sent.
While he hopes to eventually cloak a large object, until now Lukens has only been able to cloak small electrical signals.
But in the future it would be interesting to see if we can create cloaks that use both space and time. These space-time cloaks would allow us to create entire spaces where things can go undetected. For example, we could cloak an entire room and whatever is in it.

As a dreamer I hope that can be a possibility, but I'm not making any promises.
If you believe it still sounds confusing, you'd be correct.

In terms of spatial cloaking, in mid-November, scientists at Duke University claimed to have developed an invisibility cloak. However, that cloak worked only two-dimensionally (meaning, if you looked at something from one angle). You couldn't, therefore, walk a circle around Harry Potter and not see him.

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