The iPad Just Became an Invisibility Cloak

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

Big-brained muggle researchers have managed to create an invisibility cloak of sorts with an iPad and a camera, but we wouldn’t prepare for a late-night trip to the restricted section quite yet.

By feeding footage of a background scene -- collected from multiple angles -- into an iPad mini armed with “an array of cylindrical lenses to provide a 3D effect”, Joseph S. Choi and John C. Howell of the University of Rochester’s Institute of Optics managed to make a range of objects completely disappear from view.

Read More: 8 Amazing Uses For the Tech Behind Invisibility Cloaks

“This is cloaking because there’s an object between the output screen and the input camera, and a gap in distance between where we capture the input rays from the digital camera to where we project it onto the screen,” explained Howell. “We have to calculate where the input rays came from, what directions they were traveling in, and then know where they should go on the display, and in what direction. The computer program calculates this and then puts the right pixel onto the display with the correct color and angle at the right position.”

Words don’t really do it justice, do they? Take a look at the video below.

Rather than enabling us to creep around undetected, the researchers say their method could be used to eliminate blind spots from cars or even allow medics to see through the hand of an operating surgeon. They’re also set to work on a flexible version of the technology, but the amount of computational power required to make that possible means it won’t be here for a fair old while.

Filches around the world, breathe a sigh of relief. [DiscoveryNews]