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(Pocket-lint) - Cloaking devices aren't new in science fiction, with Star Trek and Harry Potter featuring them, but they are new to the real world. A few universities have reportedly created versions of them but this new cloak is particularly impressive, and cheap.

The University of Rochester has announced its cloaking device which it claims is "the first cloaking device that provides three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking." This essentially means light is delivered from an object to the eye via lenses, regardless of what goes between.

So in the real world one example given for its use was a truck driver who could cloak his rear storage unit so he could see directly behind him. Unlike cloaking devices in films, where a character or vehicle becomes invisible, this system relies on lenses so it's more for use seeing "around" objects.

While this is a simplified design the researches say they have also developed a way to cloak larger objects too. Presumably you could make giant lenses on the truck so when viewed from any angle it's invisible, but how well that would work in practise is questionable. 

While there are plenty of other cloaking examples out there, physics professor John Howell who was involved in the research, points out this device costs only $100, which is about £60, to make. In fact the instructions on how to do so are already published on the university's website so if you fancy creating your own cloaking device give it a try and let us know how it went.

READ: Cloak created to make objects undetectable to the ear

Writing by Luke Edwards. Originally published on 29 September 2014.