Now You Can 3D Print Your Own Invisibility Cloak

Now You Can 3D Print Your Own Invisibility Cloak

Charles Q. ChoiTechNewsDaily | May 18, 2013, 12:00 PM | 2,110 | 1

Invisibility cloaks made of plastic can now be created at home using 3D printers, researchers show.

The first clues that cloaking devices might one day become more than science fiction, a la “Star Trek” began emerging seven or so years ago.

Since then researchers have made such cloaks a reality by smoothly guiding rays of electromagnetic radiation such as microwave beams completely around objects so they proceed along their original trajectory as if nothing were there.

The first working invisibility cloaks were demonstrated using complex lab experiments. They can now, in principle, get made at home using 3D printers.“I would argue that essentially anyone who can spend a couple thousand dollars on a non-industry- grade 3D printer can literally make a plastic cloak overnight,” said researcher Yaroslav Urzhumov, an electrical engineer at Duke University.

A 3D printer lays down thin layers of material much like ordinary printers, except it deposits layers on top of layers to create 3D objects. Increasingly, they are being used to make items out of plastic, metal, glass, ceramic, and even sugar and mashed potatoes.

Urzhumov said creating an invisibility cloak using a 3D printer was easy and relatively inexpensive. For instance, printers can make ones about 1 inch thick (3 centimeters) and 8 inches wide (20 cm) resembling Frisbees made of Swiss cheese.

Previous invisibility cloaks all included a fair amount of metal, “but with these new cloaks, no metal is involved,” Urzhumov told TechNewsDaily. “This makes them easier to fabricate and lighter. Also, when a light wave hits a structure containing a lot of metal, it is attenuated, and the only way to have a cloak without attenuation is to get rid of these metals. Now we know it is possible to make microwave cloaks entirely out of nonmetallic materials, which is very exciting.”

The cloaks have open spots in their centers in which to place items up to 5.5 inches wide (14 cm). When microwaves are beamed at those objects from the side, the cloaks make it look as if the items are not there.

“A metal cylinder that would normally reflect a lot of microwave radiation can, once placed in the cloak, become transparent to microwaves,” Urzhumov said.

Cloaks that make objects invisible to microwaves could have military and civilian applications.

“If you want to eliminate obstacles such as pillars or small buildings to microwave antennas, you could use these cloaks, which could be helpful for communications and for radar,” Urzhumov said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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