Invisibility has been a special power in numerous stories from multiple cultures over uncountable years, but only recently has technology caught up to fantasy and brought it within reach. Since the first microwave cloak was created at Duke University, researchers have been working to design cloaks that operate in visible light and that use different materials and methods of cloaking. Now Duke Researchers have returned to creating a microwave invisibility cloak that has the unique property of having been printed by a 3D printer.
Three dimensional printers are special devices that are able to construct objects out of polymers, layer by layer, following instructions from a computer. Potentially these devices could be made cheap enough to enter households and there produce all manner of objects, including invisibility cloaks. When the researchers printed theirs it took from three to seven hours to create the device with special holes meant to deflect microwave beams. Advanced algorithms are used to determine where these holes are to be placed, along with their size and shape in order to affect the microwaves as desired.
Though the current cloak design is relatively small, the researchers believe larger versions could be created. They are also confident that visible-light cloaks could one day be printed.
Source: Duke Engineering