invisibility cloak
London-based Invisibility Shield Co. has developed a invisibility megashield. Wikimedia Commons

British company, Invisibility Shield Co. sells a 6-foot-tall "Megashield" for £699. It claims it can make multiple people invisible, resembling the "invisibility cloak" from the famous children's book and movie franchise, Harry Potter.

The shield utilises large panels embedded with meticulously designed arrays of lenses. According to the company, these lenses cover the shield's front and redirect light reflecting off objects behind it, making them appear invisible to the observer.

The company claims these lenses' specific shape and arrangement achieve two effects. First, they bend light, reflecting off objects behind the shield and away from the observer. Second, they allow background light to pass through the lenses and spread across the shield's surface, reaching the observer from a different direction.

As a result, an illusion is created where the object appears to blend in with the background, making it seem partially transparent. On the downside, the Megashield doesn't achieve perfect invisibility and may appear as a blurred block to the observer.

Invisibility tech makes strides, but limitations remain

Despite this limitation, the Invisibility Shield Co. emphasises its durability with its waterproof construction, lack of battery requirement, and eco-friendly design made from entirely recyclable materials. Also, unlike Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, the Megashield boasts a larger size, capable of concealing multiple people standing together.

"Want to experience the power of invisibility? We've got you covered," said the Invisibility Shield Co. The possibilities are endless, but most importantly, these shields are great fun. They're fun to play around with and exciting for us to make," Invisibility Shield designer Tristan Thompson told South West News Service.

Invisibility Shield Co. launched its initial product line in 2022, offering a full-size shield (3ft) for £299 and a mini version (8in) for £49. The company launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring its product to life, aiming to "turn science fiction into reality" in 2022.

The campaign exceeded its initial goal of £5,000 and promised delivery to backers by the end of the year. The latest iteration of the Invisibility Shield boasts increased functionality.

According to the company, it stands upright without support and folds to a compact 2.3 inches. This portability allows users to bring it wherever they need discreet coverage quickly.

"We wanted to see how far we could push this technology. A real working invisibility shield that you can roll up and sling over your shoulder? Two years ago, nobody thought anyone could do that," Thompson said.

The company claims the shields are most effective against uniform backgrounds like sky, grass, sand and foliage. "Backgrounds with defined horizontal lines work extremely well, too, and these can be natural features such as the horizon, or man-made features like walls, rails, or painted lines," the team added.

Unlike its 2022 predecessor, which was designed for a single person in a crouching position and required manual support, the Megashield offers increased functionality. "Our new shields have been completely redesigned to be more stable when left free-standing, easy to hold and easy to take wherever you want to go," the Invisibility Shield Co said.

The invisibility megashield isn't the first time humans have attempted invisibility technology. In 2017, Toyota explored using "a cloaking device" to make car parts seem invisible, aiming to enhance pedestrian safety. In 2017, similar efforts were reported in Russia, with scientists claiming to develop a material that could render soldiers invisible to radar detection.