Invisibility Shields Planned by Engineers

In popular science fiction, the power of invisibility is readily apparent. Star Trek fans, for example, know that the devious Romulans could make their spaceships suddenly disappear.

But is the idea really so implausible? Not according to new findings by scientists who say they have come up with a way to create cloaking device. Electronic engineers at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia are researching a device they say could make objects "nearly invisible to an observer." The contrivance works by preventing light from bouncing off the surface of an object, causing the object to appear so small it all but disappears.

The concept was reported today by the science news Web site It says the proposed cloaking device would not require any peripheral attachments (such as antennas or computer networks) and would reduce visibility no matter what angle an object is viewed at. Sir John Pendry, a physicist at Imperial College, London, said the concept potentially holds several important applications "in stealth technology and camouflage."

News source: National Geographic

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