Way back in 2006, engineers at Duke University created something they dubbed an invisibility cloak. And now, armed with your handy-dandy 3D printer, you can have one too. That's according to Yaroslav Urzhumov, a Duke professor who has already printed and tested one for himself. Here's how it works:
An object is placed in the center of the disk. Microwaves are then aimed at the side of the disk. Thanks to the mathematically placed and shaped holes around the disk, the object in its center appears not to be there. According to Urshumov:
"The design of the cloak eliminates the 'shadow' that would be cast, and suppresses the scattering from the object that would be expected. In effect, the bright, highly reflective object, like a metal cylinder, is made invisible. The microwaves are carefully guided by a thin dielectric shell and then re-radiated back into free space on the shadow side of the cloak."
That's pretty awesome for a little bit of plastic that you can print in about seven hours at home. But what's even cooler is where Urzhumov thinks the technology is going next:
"We believe this approach is a way towards optical cloaking, including visible and infrared. And nanotechnology is available to make these cloaks from transparent polymers or glass."
While 3D printing has yet to tackle glass, transparent polymers sound pretty likely. Urzhumov also notes that, using the existing 3D printed model, you could theoretically create a cloak with a one inch diameter that could render something as large as a car invisible. Now that's a DIY project worth investing a few hours in.
Via Science Daily