Watch Researchers Show Off an Underwater 'Invisibility Cloak'

A University of Dallas team uses carbon nanotubes to mimic invisibility

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For obvious reasons, we've been fascinated with researchers various attempts at creating a working invisibility cloak. But whenever we see enthusiastic headlines, progress seems mostly theoretical. Not today. Thanks to University of Dallas researchers that filmed their findings, we actually get a glimpse (underwater) of how the science works in real-life using carbon nanotube sheets. From their press release, we're told that these nanotubes have the handy ability of "the density of air but the strength of steel," which seems useful:

Through electrical stimulation, the transparent sheet of highly aligned CNTs [carbon nanotubes] can be easily heated to high temperatures. They then have the ability to transfer that heat to its surrounding areas, causing a steep temperature gradient. Just like a mirage, this steep temperature gradient causes the light rays to bend away from the object concealed behind the device, making it appear invisible.

Practically speaking, the video below shows an unpictured researcher presumably toggling an "on/off" switch that clicks, triggering the tube sheets to perform the cloaking mirage effect. Not quite magic, but still pretty interesting (the full study is here):

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.