According to the researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, they have designed an invisibility cloak that can temporally hide objects for an indefinite time (ref: Extreme Tech).
The design uses eight mirrors (four normal and four that are electrically switchable) to bounce light off each other, slowing the time it takes for that light to reach a specific object. It’s like taking a snapshot of a moment in time – and freezing it in a time delay – until the light actually reaches its destination and the object reappears. At the moment, the duration of the temporal cloak is twice the time it takes for light to travel from A to B.
The device hasn’t actually been built yet, but understandably, both the believers and sceptics amongst us are quick to defend this design. The believers point out that this opens the door to time travel; that it also holds obvious military benefits and can help with national security. The sceptics are adamant it can never work, due to the fact that you would need far too many mirrors to create something big enough to be of any practical use – not forgetting that it just won’t work because it’s reliant on time being an actual dimension…
The article goes on to say that a thief could cloak any item he wishes to steal and, during that timescale, both security guard and security camera would be ignorant to the fact he was stealing the item, as they would still be able to see it. You have to feel sorry for the security guards though when the light does catch up – as to all intents and purposes the item would seemingly vanish before their eyes!
So are we really close to bending time or even creating time travel? Is it only limited by the number of mirrors you use and how far away you decide to make Point B? Or is this the very reason why it could never realistically work? As they say, only time will tell.
Do you think time travel and cloaks of invisibility are good things for scientists to be tinkering with though? I’d love to read your opinions in the comments below.