• Become the Hide and Seek Champion

Become the Hide and Seek Champion

You know what the best way to win at hide and seek would be? If you could stand in the middle of the room and the person looking for you can’t even see you! I keep trying to hide that way, but somehow I never win. But scientists are making that dream come true by experimenting with ways to make invisibility cloaks; they're like blankets you put on to make you disappear. 

One team from the University of California, Berkeley found a way to make light reflect differently, so you just see a flat surface instead of an actual object. This cloak has microscopic little gold towers all over it, and these towers make the light bounce off in the same way that your brain thinks only walls or floors can do, making whatever you're hiding (or you) seem to disappear. Unfortunately, this ‘invisibility cloak’ only about the size of a grain of sand, and it is very, very expensive to make. It might be just a little awhile before you can use it for hide and seek.

Another group of scientists, also from the University of California, Berkeley, created a very small "fishnet" made of tiny bars of silver and magnesium fluoride. The bars are so small that light actually moves around them, instead of bouncing off of them. Since the light doesn't bounce back to your eyes, you can't see it, and so anything under the fishnet becomes invisible! Again, though, this prototype (an early version of a product not yet ready to use) is so small that it wouldn't even hide a goldfish. Maybe it could hide one-half of one-half of one goldfish eyeball, if even that much. 

This last cloaking device would actually be useful, and you could even build your own at home! John Howell and Joseph Choi from the University of Rochester created the "Rochester Cloak", a set of four lenses (like eyeglasses) that are set up very carefully according to mathematical calculations to bend light right around an object set in the middle of them. They built a simple version of this invention using mirrors to bounce light around, and you could use this to win at hide and seek! Check out the videos below to see how the Rochester Cloak works.


Thanks to Dogo News for the story and University of Rochester for the videos.