Now you see me…
Scientists have come a ‘huge step’ closer to developing a material that bends light around an object, a property that aims to make things invisible.
Invisibility Cloak! or bluescreen
At this stage the ‘metamaterial’ only seems to work for a particular bandwidth of light that humans cannot see further work will be done to make this property universal and thus really invisible.
The idea of becoming invisible has been the focal point for a variety of books and movies where the protagonist can move unseen through society as voyeurs without fear of reprisal. Amusingly society these days increasingly makes knowledge gathering through invisibility redundant given that the majority of individuals and institutions are striving towards greater transparency moving more and more images and information into the public sphere (facebook, blogging,etc). The fantasy of invisibility seems typical of rigid or conservative cultures whereas there is an argument that in contemporary society the need for invisibility is disingenuous with being a person unfettered by expectation, or free.
Also ironically scientists usually aren’t the most lauded members of our society being more or less socially invisible anyway (long hours in a lab or in private study), and working on invisibility seems, at least on one level, a means to gain attention.