Maybe drinking butterbeer and waltzing down Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando just isn't enough for you anymore. You need a new kick, something stronger, more... magical.
How about an IRL Invisibility Cloak? No, seriously, someone invented it. OK, so it's not exactly a cloak. It's more like a series of four lenses that keep objects hidden from multiple angles. But it exists, it works and it's kind of amazing.
Back in September, researchers at the University of Rochester announced that they had created a 3D-transmitting continuously multidirectional cloaking device. Yeah, we weren't sure what that meant either. But the good news is that now one of the graduate students who helped create it says you can make one at home for about the cost of a decent pair of earbuds.
"It's very simple... it's a little more than just putting a few magnifying glasses together," Joe Choi, a Ph.D student who worked on the project, told MTV News. "We were surprised that people thought this was really cool and we were just waiting for the patent application to come out." The inventors were also waiting for their paper to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Optics Express, which finally happened in late November.
Choi said the coolest twist on their research is that now you can order your own complete "Rochester Cloak" device for just $49. "We've gotten calls from France, Australia, all over the world from people who want to build them on their own and it's good because elementary school and high school kids are doing it for science fair projects and as a hobby," Choi said. "It's getting kids interested in science and optics in particular."
We still don't exactly get how it works, but essentially the Rochester scientist figured out how to combine the lenses in a way that doesn't shift the background and make it obvious what's going on and which doesn't lose the illusion when you shift your viewpoint a bit.
Next up? Choi said they're working on a few new patents for devices with larger lenses that could cloak a bigger area and ones using plastics that would make them even cheaper.
Okay, not that big, but definitely bigger than your hand. Eat your heart out, Muggles!