While it’s been in the news for about a year now, there is still a lot of hoopla about a lens-based invisibility cloak being developed at the University of Rochester. The idea is that with some complex apparatus, you can place an object between the apparatus and something you want to see, and you will seemingly see through the object – it will be invisible.
A few weeks ago, MTBS had the opportunity to visit Murcia, Spain and meet some of the VR and AR experts in the area. We even got a tour of the University of Murcia by Professor Fernando Vargas-Martin in their Faculty of Optics (Optica).
Fernando’s lab is a mess of lenses and gadgetry. Then I saw this:
It’s a picture I have seen everywhere: CNN, Internet blogs, everywhere! I asked Fernando, “Did you do this?!?”
“No,” he said. “It’s a student project.”
With a live demonstration, Fernando explained that it’s a common lens, and what happens is the center of the lens is a blind spot. The light is effectively collected from the rim of the lens versus straight from one side to the other – like a cone focused on a point where the space inside the cone is the blind spot.
Sight unseen, the University of Rochester’s work could very well be more convincing and flexible than what we experienced in Murcia – but it was a very funny matter-of-fact moment.