The idea of turning invisible could be closer to 'science fact' than 'science fiction'.
Researchers at the University of Texas have for the first time used an invisibility cloak to make a three-dimensional object, an 18-inch tube, to disappear.
One cloaking technique uses so-called meta-materials to redirect light, creating 2-dimensional invisibility; another uses a heat panel to create a mirage effect, bending the light to trick the eye.
The latest advance uses plasmonic meta-materials to cancel all reflected light. No reflection means the object disappears into 3-dimensional invisibility.
For now, the effect works on high frequency wavelengths like microwave wavelengths. It has not yet been developed to work with the human eye. The technology might be used on wi-fi, satellite and mobile phone signals so that they pass free of interruption through solid objects.
True invisibility — such as cloaking humans — is a long way off.