Invisible Clothing Fit For Harry Potter

What would you do if you could become invisible? Answers to that ever popular question range from the criminal (rob a bank) and obscene (spend a day in a women's locker room) to the political (super-efficient government spies) and bizarre (walk around naked in public). To many the question is rhetorical; it doesn't matter what they would do because it's never going to be possible. But for scientists hard at work on developing cloaking devices, the question is more pertinent.

In an article on, Elizabeth Landau looks at two groups of scientists working on separate invisibility projects, both of which have achieved moderately promising results. Graeme Milton, a mathematician at the University of Utah, is working with a team of scientists based in Australia on invisibility models that use a superlens, a device that makes objects seem to disappear. Seeming to disappear is very different from actually becoming invisible, and so far the theory only applies to small objects, such as clusters of dust particles. This is a long way from invisibility as Harry Potter and his marvelous cloak know it.

So far Milton and his team have only been able to prove their theories mathematically, however, back in 2006 a Russian professor, Oleg Gadomsky, actually patented his method of optical camouflage. Gadomsky used his knowledge in quantum and optical electronics to arrange gold nanoparticles in a stratum that "cloaks the image of an object to the other side of the stratum". Wearing a parka-like garment, Gadomsky demonstrated his "invisibility cloak" to great success and can even be viewed on a video that has done the rounds on the internet.

On a completely different tack, SkinScan has used all available technology to develop fabric that mimics skin tone to create the illusion that the fabric is in fact not there. Jerold Kritchman & Co., the creators of Almost Invisible(TM) Clothing hold fast to their belief that the natural tones and colours of women's skin is inherently glamourous and go by the politically correct motto of "My colour is my sensuality".

SkinScan(TM) Technology records skin tone and reproduces it on a number of different fabrics, which can be used in the cut and design of a number of different products customised to individual needs. Kritchman hopes that clothing that looks invisible when worn will open up a whole new area for clothing fashion designers to explore.

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