One of the most exciting abilities of characters in movies and books, invisibility, was brought much more close to becoming reality, thanks to the work of Japanese researchers.
They developed a hi-tech cloak which, worn by a person, makes him or her look “transparent”, much like the famous Harry Potter used to do when cornered by enemies.
The transparent cloak is made using so-called retro-reflective projection technology. A camera fitted on the back of the cloak records what happens behind the wearer and projects the image on the front, creating the illusion that the person is transparent.
“A computer processes the background imagery and relays it to a projector that filters through a half mirror and projects the scene onto the wearer. From a certain angle, the cloaked person looks transparent to onlookers,” explained Dr. Susumu Tachi, the leader of the research team at the University of Tokyo’s Tachi Lab.
The concept is expected to find practical use in cars, helicopters and planes, helping drivers and pilots to see “through” the vehicle as they operate it. It could for example help eliminate “blind spots” in the car, so that the driver notices easier a motorcyclist approaching from behind, or it could help a driver back the car up without the risk of hitting unseen obstacles.