A favourite trick of magicians like Cris Angel and David Blaine is to make objects disappear; anything from a coin to the Statue of Liberty. We all know it’s an “illusion”, but how do they do it?

Scientists are now developing something called “metamaterials”, which one day could also make things seem to disappear. It’s all based on knowing how to trick our eyes.

We see stuff because objects scatter light and reflect some of it back to our eye. The idea behind metamaterials is to deflect light away from us. Until recently, researchers have had some success in bending light in two dimensions. Now, at the University of California (Berkeley), a way to bend light in three dimensions has been discovered.

This new breakthrough has the potential to make things, including ourselves, invisible. However, this may be futuristic thinking. More immediate applications will likely be in communications, optics and computer technology.

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Stan Megraw

Stan is a writer/researcher, a PhD graduate of McGill University and was a member of the CurioCity team for several years. As a kid he dreamed of playing hockey in the NHL then becoming an astronaut with NASA. Instead, he ended up as an environmental research scientist. In his spare time Stan enjoys working on DIY projects, cooking and exploring his Irish roots.


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