University of California scientists today announced that significant progress has been made toward developing "metamaterials" for use in a legitimate invisibility cloak. The researchers, led by mad scientist Xiang Zhang, were able to demonstrate for the first time that they could cloak 3D objects with these materials. As the article notes, and as we've shown here on Gizmodo in the past, previous attempts at invisibility were successful only with tiny two-dimensional objects. Not anymore, as this heavily military-backed project is well on its way to producing superhero special abilities, today.
In layman's terms, the metamaterials developed by Zhang and his cohorts at UC Berkley scatter the visible light that hits them using a mixture of metal and circuit board materials like ceramic, Teflon and fiber composite. The scientists are using these materials to bend light around 3D objects, kind of like water around your ankles in a shallow river (yes, even cankles!), so they don't create reflections, shadows or Kevin Bacon impersonations.
More info on this latest invisibility discovery will be released later this week in the journals Nature and Science [The Associated Press]