Design Con 2015

A real-world Harry Potter

-November 27, 2006

Harry Potter fans know that the young wizard sneaks around his school with an invisibility cloak, thus avoiding detection by teachers. Well, Harry's invisibility cloak may someday exist in more than J.K. Rowling's books. Researchers in the ECE department at Duke University and Imperial College in London have developed the blueprint for an invisibility cloak. The research earned two Duke professors the 2006 "Scientific American 50" award. According to a Duke press release dated May 25, 2006, "Such a cloak could hide any object so well that observers would be totally unaware of its presence." The reserachers claim that such a cloak might be used to "eliminate" an object blocking a radio signal, thus improving reception..

As you might expect, the work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. While the DoD might have some good uses for such a cloak, imagine what could happen if such a cloak fell into the wrong hands. What could a terrorist do with such a cloak? Sneak around supposedly guarded installations? It seems to me that before anyone develops such a cloak, they should develop an anti-cloak for areas where a cloak could lead to potential danger.

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