Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - The world's first acoustic cloak has been created to make sounds appear to travel around a hidden object, or person.

Using 3D printed metamaterials scientists have managed to create a 3D acoustic invisibility cloak that interacts with sound waves in a way that makes it appear there is nothing there.

Steven Cummer, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and his colleagues at Duke University created the pyramid shaped device from sheets of plastic plates dotted with repetitive patterns of holes.

The layers are able to slow down sound before the waves bounce off so it appears the sound is coming off a flat surface. Unlike other efforts this is the first time a silence cloak has worked no matter where the sound is coming from.

Cummer sees several uses for the technology: "We conducted our tests in the air, but sound waves behave similarly underwater, so one obvious potential use is sonar avoidance," he said presumably referring to potential military applications for submarines and boats. "But there's also the design of auditoriums or concert halls - any space where you need to control the acoustics. If you had to put a beam somewhere for structural reasons that was going to mess up the sound, perhaps you could fix the acoustics by cloaking it."

No mention of Metal Gear Solid style stealth suits then. It's certainly a step up from Solid Snake's attempts to hide using a cardboard box and slow-walk combo.

Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 12 March 2014.