We're getting closer to real invisibility cloaks

Researchers devised a 'skin' that suppresses radar and another that mirrors light.

Iowa State University

We've been inching closer to real-life invisibility cloaks for a bit now, but going full on Harry Potter in the Hogwarts library is probably still a ways off. The latest advancement in metamaterial-based vanishing tech from Iowa State University guards whatever it's placed on from cameras, according to a paper published in Nature. The naked eye? Not so much. And even those cameras can't hide it from a human viewing a video feed, only other machines or perhaps radar.

The researchers achieved this by embedding split ring resonators filled with galinstan into silicone sheets. Stretching those sheets is a form of tuning of sorts, and allowed the scientists to suppress certain radar waves up to about 75 percent. This type of tech could be used in a stealth fighter jet for example, as everything RF notes.

On the other side of the metamaterials coin, the University of California at Berkeley has developed a type of invisibility tech that reflects light to keep objects hidden. This method uses gold nanoantennas to "reroute reflected light waves" so that the thing it covers was invisible when the material was turned on by switching the gold's polarization -- watch it in action just below.

For now it's just working on a microscopic scale, measuring "barely" 80 nanometers thick and only large enough to cover a few biological cells, according to the school. But hey, it's a start, right?