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I'm the invisible man: DIY invisibility cloaks made possible with 3D printing technology

on Nov 24 2014 , 17:06:41

“I’m the invisible man, I’m the invisible man, Incredible how you can, See right through me.”


Cheap DIY invisibility cloaks have the potential fundamentally transform society as people have the ability to decide who sees their physical shape.

In 2013 researchers at Duke University created an invisibility cloak, easily made with a consumer 3D printer.

“I would argue that essentially anyone who can spend a couple thousand dollars on a non-industry grade 3-D printer can literally make a plastic cloak overnight,” said Yaroslav Urzhumov, assistant research professor in electrical and computer engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering.

Using STL technology, researchers created a device which looks like a Frisbee with holes. A variety of algorithms determine the dimension and size of each hole, which then will deflect the microwave beams.

“The disk-like cloak has an open area in its center where the researchers placed an opaque object. When microwave beams were aimed at the object through the side of the disk, the cloak made it appear that the object was not there,” phys.org explains.

Using consumer grade 3D printing technology anyone with basic understanding of the technology and resources will be able to manufacture a plastic invisibility cloak. The algorithms define the location, size and shape to deflect microwave beams. The printing process takes only about five hours.


Even though current cloak inventions deflect only microwave beams, it will only be a matter of time until the same technology will function for higher wavelengths, such as visible light.

With the help of nanotechnology is these cloaks can be manufactured from polymers and glass.

Dennis Mitzner is the Chief Editor of Inside3DP.com and contributes to a wide selection of magazines, websites, blogs and newspapers. In addition to covering 3D printing and the maker movement, Dennis writes about politics, finance, technology and the markets. His work has been published in Information Week, Jerusalem Post, AFP, PJ Media, Times of Israel and in several other notable publications.

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