We can make an object invisible! (Maybe…)

Israeli researchers have designed a microchip that may be able to make the mystical cloak of invisibility
invisible golden retriever puppy This is NOT the cloaking carpet scientists are working on. It's still just a theory, so there aren't any pictures. Instead, this is just a golden retriever named Sylvie hiding under a blanket. She's not even hiding all that well. We can still see you, Sylvie. (© Elayne6 | Dreamstime)


Somewhere just behind super strength and flight, you'll find one of the most sought-after superpowers in human history: invisibility.

From magicians on the street corner to wizards in fantasy novels, people are fascinated by those who can make things disappear—and even more fascinated by those who can disappear themselves!

And it's something that a group of scientists at Israel's Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) can really see themselves pulling off. How? With something they call a "cloaking carpet." If they can make their idea a reality, any object placed upon it would become invisible to our eyes.

A trick of reflection

Embed from Getty Images

Most things that we see do not generate their own light. They reflect it toward us instead. (Getty Embed)

The secret lays in how the human eye sees the world.

Everything we see in the world is a product of light travelling through space and into our eyes. And since most objects do not produce their own light, what we see is light reflected off of their surface. This is true, even of objects that we wouldn't consider "reflective," such as carpets or wool. Light bounces off their surfaces, and into the eye, displaying an image in our brains.

This cloaking carpet would work thanks to specially-designed microchips on its surface. These chips deflect incoming light away from any object placed upon it. Because the light doesn't reach the object, it never has the chance to reflect off of that object and into our eyes. And therefore...

The object is invisible! Whoa!

Nice idea, but...

Dr. Alina Karabchevsky

Dr. Alina Karabchevsky is the head of the Light-on-a-Chip Group. They have designed the chip. (Dani Machlis/BGU)

Of course, this all sounds like an incredible breakthrough. And it will be... if they can make it. Right now, the cloaking carpet is only a theory. But led by Dr. Alina Karabchevsky, BGU's Light-on-a-Chip Group is starting work now on a prototype.

We'll let you know that's done when we see it... or is that when we can't see it? You get the idea!


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