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Be honest: You’ve always dreamed about being invisible, haven’t you? Especially if you could become invisible for a short time and then regain your visible form.
The idea of invisibility has been one that has fascinated us for centuries. Books have been written on the subject. Movies have been made. Even some fantasies involve the premise of being unseen.
But it’s not possible to make a person disappear from view. Or is it?
Hyperstealth Biotechnology Corporation, a Canadian company, says it has perfected an invisibility cloak that works using classical physics, Popular Science reports:
“After nearly a decade of vaguely alluding to his advancements in invisibility but refusing to share anything other than computer-generated mock-photos, (Hyperstealth CEO) Guy Cramer posted, back in August, an hour-long video demonstration to mark the official debut of his Quantum Stealth technology.”
So how is it done? Well, unlike magicians who refuse to tell you how they pulled off a spectacular illusion, Cramer and his team at Hyperstealth are glad to explain that they create invisibility with lenses. More specifically, they use lenticular lenses.
What Are Lenticular Lenses?
You’ve seen lenticular lenses for years and never even knew that’s what they were called:
“Remember those hologram stickers, posters, and trippy 3D trapper keepers? They were covered in ridges, and those ridges were an array of long, convex lenses, all running parallel to one another. The dimensional images in those stickers and posters are actually multiple images divided into thin slices, which are interlaced together. These magnifying lenticular lenses allow you to view those slices from different angles. From the left and the right, you can see the complete picture of each image, but as you turn the sticker the two (or more) images blur together, creating illusions—that’s how those stickers can make it look like a child is morphing into a monster, or a horse is running through a river.”
Cramer notes that many physicists were skeptical that his company could pull off their incredible feat:
“Physicists were saying, ‘well we know we can bend light at one specific frequency. But you definitely can’t do two frequencies at the same time, if one is red and one is blue. And definitely not the entire visible spectrum.”
As a perfect example of lenticular lenses, take a look at this:
Lenticular lens refracting light along its short axis, creating an illusion of “hiding” colored pencils. pic.twitter.com/08njMQUVTR
— Machine Pix (@MachinePix) October 15, 2019
Trippy, ain’t it?
From Simple to Whoa!
Hyperstealth’s initial experiment with lenticular lenses was simple:
“Just one huge sheet of lenses running vertically. Although Cramer largely disappears behind the screen, the cloaking was blurry and a little distorted.”
Thirteen versions later, Cramer had what he’s using now, and it’s virtually guaranteed to blow your mind the first time you see it in use. It has a much clearer image and works perfectly when the person or object is about 12 feet away from the lens:
The Ideal Cloak
It should be noted that Quantum Cloak isn’t actually a cloak in the scientific sense of the word. Actual cloaking involves sending light through a medium and what comes out is exactly as if the object wasn’t there. The Hyperstealth technology developed by Cramer blurs the object. It doesn’t actually make it disappear, though it sure as heck looks like it does.
For his part, Cramer makes it clear that he plans to market his invention to the military:
“Out in the field, he believes that his invention could effectively mask a target, and, to an extent, its movement. And, Cramer says, if the cloak can’t hide something, it can at the very least distort the image so that it’s no longer a clearly identifiable target. The key to its potential success lies in the simplicity of the design. A Quantum Stealth cloak doesn’t require any power source, it’s lightweight and thin, and easy to use. ‘You just hand it a soldier and go ‘hold it in this direction’ and that’s all they need to know,’ says Cramer.”
The Hyperstealth lenses are also an example of what’s known as Snell’s Law, according to IFL Science:
“You can see the effect easily. Get a glass of water and put a spoon in it. It will appear bent. The same effect makes pools appear shallower than they are. When light moves between two materials, the angle at which it is moving will change depending on the refractive index. So by being clever with materials it is possible to construct something that has a blindspot. And that’s where the invisibility happens.”
Do you still want to be invisible? If so, Guy Cramer and his team at Hyperstealth may just have exactly what you need to make your dreams come true.
For more on cloaking devices, watch this video: