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Tech by VICE

Make Your Own Invisibility Cloak for Less Than $100

Optical physics goes DIY.

by Michael Byrne
Sep 28 2014, 12:30pm

Image: screen-grab/Rochester U

Usually when cloaking news comes around—and it does, often—the technique seems either on the edge of theory or via some laboratory-anchored, microscopic scheme. The new, heavily buzzed-about method dubbed the "Rochester cloak" is different. You the non-scientist, non-DARPA-funded individual could make one yourself.

The cloak, which comes via researchers at Rochester University's quantum optics lab, uses only readily-available optical lenses. Using not-readily-available lenses, perhaps building-sized, the technique can easily scale up, cloaking pretty much whatever.

"I imagine this could be used to cloak a trailer on the back of a semi-truck so the driver can see directly behind him," Joseph Choi, a grad student at Rochester and one of the technique's developers, told Reuters. "It can be used for surgery, in the military, in interior design, art." That's a rather welcome change from the battlefield/military applications things like this are usually geared toward.

The Rochester University site is currently down (the whole thing), possibly because it's swarmed with high school science teachers and other invisibility cloak enthusiasts, but the Rochester Cloak's developers have a tutorial posted on how to make your own. Savor it: emerging physics isn't often this DIY.