Scientists Make Progress on Invisibility Device

Cloaking may not be just for Harry Potter. Scientists have made an object invisible. Not to the human eye, just invisible to some kinds of electromagnetic radiation.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

WERTHEIMER: And now for the last word in business. Recently we reported that scientists have figured out how to make objects invisible, not to the human eye, mind you, just invisible to some kinds of electromagnetic radiation. It was theory then. Now they've done it. And while it's not ready for market yet, you can just see the possibilities.

NPR's Christopher Joyce has more.

CHRISTOPHER JOYCE: Yes, it actually works. That's what the team from Duke University now says. It is a small disc-shaped device made of special composite materials embedded with tiny rods and rings, kind of like microchips on a donut. What it does is cloak itself from microwave radiation. The radiation slips by like water around a smooth rock. So let's say you're from another planet and you see using the microwave part of electromagnetic spectrum instead of the visual part we use; this thing would fool you. Well, not completely. If you saw the movie The Predator, you'd remember that when the creature disappeared, it still cast a kind of shimmery shadow. The Duke device still has a shadow problem, but they have declared victory in this week's issue of the journal Science. They say what works for microwaves might work for things like radar, or even someday 12-year-old wizards named Harry sneaking around after his bedtime.

Christopher Joyce, NPR News.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: