Dr. Baile Zhang, an assistant physics professor at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has created a small, box-like “invisibility cloak” that uses optic crystals to bend light. The invention was unveiled on Monday at the TED 2013 conference in Long Beach, California – hit the jump to see a video of the device in action!

When it comes to hobbies, some people knit, others collect stamps, and some invent invisibility cloaks. In 2010, Dr. Zhang was inspired to create his simple cloaking device “for fun” after remembering a high school demonstration using calcite.

At this week’s TED 2013 conference he showed how the sandwiched crystals could hide a rolled-up post-it note placed on a mirror submerged in liquid. The calcite cloak at the top of the tube guides light from behind to a point directly on top so that they eye is “seeing through” the object. Calcite’s molecular structure is similar to nanoscale patterns that researchers have been trying to artificially produce with electron beams.

Dr. Zhang plans on making the cloak larger and refining how it works to make it more practical. At the moment, it can only function if it is placed in a medium with just the right refraction index to help it bend light. A bath of oil will produce the effect, but water or air will not create the same results. Still, the device brings us one step closer to accomplishing a feat previously only imagined in fantasy and fairy tales.

+ Dr. Baile Zhang

Via the Daily Mail