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Duke Scientists Unveil Real-Life “Invisibility Cloak”

After years of less successful attempts, scientists at Duke University have created a perfect “invisibility cloak”—but it’s not quite as good as the one a certain boy wizard led us to expect. 

Researchers managed to shuttle light around an object so precisely that there are no reflections by using a diamond-shaped cloaking region. Of course, there’s a catch: Namely, it only works in one direction. “It’s like the card people in Alice in Wonderland,” a researcher explained. “If they turn on their sides, you can’t see them, but they’re obviously visible if you look from the other direction.”

It also works best in microwaves, and could be used in practical applications including telecommunications and radar. But optical wavelengths would be more difficult to implement. So don’t expect to see—or, rather, not see—this technology adopted by super spies or rich Harry Potter wannabes anytime soon.