Invisibility cloak ‘appears’ at TED Talks

Chris Morris
Plugged In
26 February 2013

The Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone may still be locked away in J. K. Rowling's imagination, but the third Deathly Hallow made a rare appearance on stage in Long Beach this week.

Baile Zhang, an assistant professor of physics at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, showed off his "invisibility cloak" on Monday at the TED2013 talks in Long Beach.

Speaking as part of TED Fellows Day, when young researchers, artists, and techno-geniuses seen as being worthy of mentoring give short four-minute presentations, Zhang wowed the crowd with his amazing cloak.

As you might guess, Zhang's cloak is a bit different than the one Harry Potter wore. It's tiny right now, very much in the prototype phase. And while you might expect it to have some grand purpose, it doesn't. Zhang created it solely for fun.

Speaking with editors at Boing Boing, Zhang explained that the cloak is made of two optical crystals that are found in nature. When cemented together, they bend light and suppress shadows to the point that they can hide objects. The demo at the show saw the cloak (which is kept in a tiny clear box) make a Post-It note vanish.

The TED talk was the first time Zhang’s Invisibility Cloak has been shown publicly to a large audience, though scientists have been enamored with it for years. In 2010, an earlier version of the cloak ranked fourth among the year's top 10 breakthroughs, as ranked by Physics World.

Some people on Twitter were even more enthusiastic – although, it wouldn't be Twitter without a little snark.

"In race to invent cool random stuff, invisibility cloak on track to beat flying car," noted Luke Buckmaster.

Lord Voldemort, we're guessing, is a little less enthused.

For game news, free codes and more, Like us on Facebook and follow @yahoogames on Twitter!

What to read next

Raymond Lam plans to return to filming

Wang Kai demands apology from Huading Awards

Hey! You have to check out this site!

Millions of singles over age 45 are members of this site already! If you haven’t tried it, just click on the image and start your free registration!

$649 – Cancun 5 Nt. All-Incl. w/Air

Head to Mexico this summer with this deal out of several US cities.* Sale ends 5/6.

Huading Awards clarifies Best Leading Actor controversy

Hilton HHonors™ Card

Get 75,000 Hilton HHonors™ Bonus Points! Terms Apply. Offer ends 5/4

Symptoms and Treatments for Prostate Cancer

The 5-Year survival rate for prostate cancer is almost 100%. Learn what to watch for and search for prostate cancer treatments here.

Get This Once-In-A-Lifetime Deal Before It's Gone!

Get 4 Disney Movies For $1 With Membership. See Details. Exclusive Titles, Merchandise, Offers & Discounts. Plus, Free Shipping On Your Initial Order!

Aimee Chan shows off baby girl's face

Drive part-time, full-time, or anytime with Uber!

As an Uber independent contractor you can get paid to drive your own car! We connect you with riders, and you work when you want to.

Raymond Lam performs with a bloodied hand