Science of Invisibility : How Possible is it to have Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak?

in #science3 years ago

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I have always been a Potterhead and I have watched the entire series of Harry Potter. As Potterheads we all know that Harry has always kept a very valuable and interesting friend which most of us might want to have and that is his Invisibility Cloak. Of course we all didn’t buy the idea of having a real one but what if it could actually be true? What if Harry’s friend can actually be your friend as well?

When I was in college my professor handed a book to us written by Michiu Kaku entitled: "The Physics of the Impossible". That book discusses the possibility of some things that are still possible today such as Teleportation, Force fields and Invisibility. We were asked to make a Gap Analysis on these “Impossibilities” from Michiu Kaku’s write ups. On this post allow me to share the possibility of Invisibility and what I think could be the positive and the negative effects if such will be realized.

Faraday’s Discovery

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One of the longest marvels of science fiction and fantasy is perhaps the existence of invisibility. The possibility of this kind of technology has been dismissed by physicists stating that invisibility like what you see in Star Trek and Harry Potter is impossible. They violate the laws of optics and do not conform to any of the known properties of matter. It was not until James Clerk Maxwell came into the picture, one of the giants of nineteenth-century physics who had a firm understanding of the laws of optics. Maxwell began with Faraday's discovery that electric fields could turn into magnetic fields and vice versa. Maxwell have come to ask himself what happens if magnetic fields and electric fields are constantly turning into each other in a never-ending pattern. Maxwell found that these electric-magnetic fields would create a wave. Maxwell calculated the speed of these waves and found it to be the speed of light and concluded that light itself is an electromagnetic disturbance.

How to make Solid Objects Disappear?

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Solids are opaque, and so light rays cannot pass through the dense matrix of atoms while many liquids and gases are transparent, light can easily pass between the large spaces in their atoms, a space that is larger than the wavelength of visible light. However, if arranged randomly a solid object may become transparent. This can be done by heating the material to a high temperature and then rapidly cooling them like the glass. This shows that invisibility is a property that occurs at an atomic level.


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In making invisibility a reality, the discovery of metamaterial is its life-saver. Metamaterial is an exotic material created by embedding tiny implants within a substance that force electromagnetic waves to bend in strange ways. Metamaterials can change the path of microwaves so that they flow around a cylinder, making everything inside the cylinder invisible to microwaves. Now the work is to make metamaterials work not just on microwaves but on visible light as well through nanotechnology

Approaches Proposed to Make Invisibility Possible

Photonic Crystals
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Several nanotechnology approaches have been proposed, all hoping to provide a possible reality for invisibility. Some of those are to use off-the-shelf technology, silicon wafer etching technology used by a group of scientists to create the first metamaterial that operates in the visible range of light. Future developments may also occur in the area of "Photonic Crystals" that is used to create a chip that uses light, rather than electricity, to process information. This entails using nanotechnology to etch tiny components onto a wafer, such that the index of refraction changes with each component Transistors using light have several advantages over those using electricity. The science of photonic crystals is ideally suited for metamaterials, since both technologies involve manipulating the index of refraction of light at the nanoscale.

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Another method is to use “plasmonics”, a group of scientists announced to have created a metamaterial that bends visible light. They also announced that the metamaterial has a negative index for the more difficult blue-green region of the visible spectrum of light. Plasmonics’ goal is to "squeeze" light so that one can manipulate objects at the nanoscale, especially on the surface of metals.

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Perhaps the most sophisticated way of becoming invisible was mentioned by H. G. Wells in The Invisible Man, and it involved using the power of the fourth dimension. Like a three-dimensional butterfly hovering over a two-dimensional sheet of paper, you would be invisible to anyone living in the universe below you. However this thought also raises the biggest diffficulty because the higher dimensions are not yet proven to actually exist and if they do it would require an energy beyond the technology we have right now and is clearly beyond our knowledge and ability.

How far are we from an Invisibility Cloak?

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For now, scientists may be far from realizing the power of invisibility from Star Trek or Harry Potter but what if one of these methods will succeed in making something or someone invisible from other people’s perspective? How would an individual use the power of invisibility? What would the society and the world be like with this kind of advancement?

If someone can have the power to make himself/herself invisible, when and how would he/she use it? Like Harry Potter from J.K Rowling’s book: Harry Potter, an individual might use the power of invisibility to hide from enemies, sneak around the corridors late at night undetected and escape when your guardian doesn’t allow you to go to the field trip. Those were some of the things that Harry Potter did with an invisibility cloak, yet a lot more can be done with the power of invisibility.

Usage and Possible Impacts of Invisibility

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With invisibility, one cannot only hide himself from enemies, one can also hide objects or things that may be of value to her and to other people that others may be interested of stealing. With the use of invisibility one can protect and secure himself and his valuables because people with negative plans against him or his thing wouldn’t be able to locate him.

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However, one possible act someone can do with the power of invisibility cloak is to sneak into other people’s room undetected. This idea would jeopardize other people’s privacy. Someone then can’t easily conclude to be alone in his/her room if there’s a possibility of someone sneaking inside the room and just watching him/her.

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Another act that someone can also do with an invisibility cloak is to steal. A thief for example, can easily steal from jewelry stores, banks, pawnshops, convenience stores, etc. without being recognized or seen. CCTV cameras then would become useless for this kind of sophisticated criminal and the worse thing is he can do it again and again because no one has known his face in the first place. If robbers can easily enter and rob, lot of businessmen would be hesitant to start or continue business. Because with the robbers able to easily penetrate their shops and steal, they would be bankrupt. This would make a negative impact with the country’s economy because there would be lesser investors and businessmen who would risk business in a country with thieves easily able to rob their factories.

With invisibility, people can also easily sneak into malls with prohibited objects like guns, knives, or worst bombs. Terrorists would find this invisibility technology useful and bomb public places, this scenario is already common but would become easier and sophisticated with the help of invisibility.

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Another application for the power of invisibility that Michiu Kaku pointed out in his book Physics of the Impossible is to make airplanes invisible to radar. With this kind of technology, foreigners could easily enter other countries without prior notice to the government of the country. These foreigners could be carrying with them contagious diseases and those diseases might spread out in the invaded country when those foreigners will have direct contact with the natives. Spread of various diseases would become faster with this kind of technology.

If people can have airplanes invisible from radars they can also do it with their missiles, soldiers, cannons, etc. Military section perhaps could get the most advantage out of this kind of technology. Some countries might use invisibility to attack other countries. Given the missiles or other attacking device invisible, the attacked countries wouldn’t be able to counteract and know which country attacked them because of the power of invisibility. When in war, invisibility cloaks could be the best way to camouflage. Opponents of these invisible soldiers would have the least chance to win because they will not have any idea where they would aim their guns. It will also be difficult to guess where these invisible soldiers are hiding and when they are going to fire their bullets. This kind of technology however would possibly be available only with the richest countries spending the most efforts in developing this device. And this device would be a total advantage for those countries possessing it and a total disadvantage to their opponents who don’t have.

You Choose!!

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In general possible existence of invisibility would give people protection from their enemies but at the same time would also risk people’s security and privacy. It would also make someone advantageous in wars. Criminals can also take advantage with this kind of technology making their crimes more sophisticated and them staying unknown. As what Plato pointed out in his philosophical masterpiece, The Republic, to use such power as invisibility is irresistible once someone is able to possess it. With the power of invisibility the temptation of being able to steal and kill at will is something that man can’t resist for all men are corruptible (Michiu Kaku, Physics of the Impossible). This kind of device is advantageous to the one who possess it but disadvantageous to those who do not. Yet still humans were created with will. Using invisibility to do bad might be something irresistible but the decision to use it or not use it in such purpose still highly depends on the person.

What about you?

How far do you think are we from realizing Invisibility?

Do you think realizing Invisibility is more advantageous or disadvantageous?

Share your thoughts below.


Interesting article @johnrel. I think they are already working on building aircraft that can reflect light making it partially invisible to the eyes. Stealth uniforms used by army can also be considered as partially invisible ones making the person wearing it match with the surroundings. From the possibilities that we see, there can even be something that can really make people look invisible. Who knows :)

Greeeaatt Inppuuttss!! We maybe arent that far from making it real @rainbowbala... On your own perspective, do you want it to be realized?

Good Job @johnrel. Right from the start I know how much you are capable of and I'm really amazed with your mental prowess.

This is what I've been waiting to see in your blog. Indeed you have shared something worth reading and a very substantial content that really speaks our modern generation. THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS INCREDIBLE IDEA. You are AWESOME!!

Aaaaawwweeee @iamwhatiamnot... Thaank you so much. You know i wont be able to show this without you. You were the instrument for this to happen...

Of course, being a supreme being from the future, part robot, part biological, I already have the ability to become invisible. However, The Master, (@markangeltrueman), does not and he found this post quite intriguing. Thanks for posting it. I've given it my seal of approval an re-steemed it on my steemsearch blog

The Curator


This post was upvoted by curie and it's trail as a result of a submission to the guild by @markangeltrueman. Curie is a curation guild which finds and upvotes high-quality posts by new and undiscovered members of the Steem community. View the blog at @curie

Wow.. Everybody definitely envies you @steemsearch.. My self included... But thaaankk you so much for stopping by my post. I appreciate it. Someday I and @markangeltrueman will be invisible like you;)

This is truly a good post @johnrel Nice one..Stay awesome!

Thaankk yoouu soo muucchh for your coomment @wandergal hehehe no worries if everything goes perfect.. We'll have Pizzaaa <3

Yay! That is what I like about you 😊

Intriguing! I am a long-time Harry Potter reader/viewer as well. Resteeming, and following your blog as of today :) Thanks for your thoughtful content!

@mininthecity Thaankk yoouu sooo muucchhh... Potterhead alerrtt ;) ... Gotta follow you back as well;)

You have no idea how many times I wish I could set up a portkey or apparate... hahahahaha.

Hahaha that's funny.. Well in my case i have always wanted to join the Quidditch WORLD CUP... Hahahah... POOTTEERRHEAADDSS

Wow... Nice one man...

Thaaankk Yooouuuu....

Keep on giving such informative articles

I will @jegannath.. You too i have followed you already and gonna be looking and reading your posts :)

Thank you dude... Let's keep rocking together... Will support you...

hogwarts gunna make a statue for you

And my statue will be invisible... Ouchhh... @stupidamerican

Congratulations @johnrel, this post is the seventh most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Dust account holder (accounts that hold between 0 and 0.01 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by Dust account holders during this period was 15651 and the total pending payments to posts in this category was $3198.24. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here.

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Woowww that is amazing @bitgeek Thaankk youuuu <3

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