Scientists in China have have successfully made a cat invisible using a new light-bending cloaking device.
In a video showcasing the new tech, a cat vanished from view after climbing into the hexagonal device, allowing viewers an uninterrupted view of the scenery behind it.
The team of scientists led by Baile Zhang of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore used light bending prisms to achieve the effect, bending the light around the device rendering whatever is inside invisible, describing the technique in a paper posted online.
In another demonstration, a goldfish was made to disappear after swimming into the device inside a fish tank, with the pondweed behind unobscured by the animal, which emerges from the other side after a short time inside the device.
“When swimming inside the cloak, the goldfish becomes invisible and does not block the scene of green plants behind the cloak,” the scientists wrote.
While this device can hide objects when viewed from six different directions, the one used to make the cat vanish only works for viewers directly in front of it, but the researchers can adjust the cloaking device to make objects invisible from any angle, they claim in the report.
The technology used in this demonstration is based on principles described by Sir John Pendry of Imperial College London in 2006, who described the study as “a genuine step forward”
“Behind the fun is the serious idea that people want to control light,” he added.
Cloaking devices such as the ones showcased could one day be used to improve stealth camouflage, and could have applications in the military as well as raising serious questions about surveillance and security.
The technology is still in its early stages however, and a usable invisibility cloak like the one used by Harry Potter to sneak around Hogwarts is still many years off, so you’ll have to make do with sneaking around the old fashioned way, for now.