Got caught taking that last cookie from the jar or glancing at a neighbor's paper during a mid-term? How often have you wished you could simply make that moment vanish? Believe it or not, scientists have now figured out a way to make that wish a reality.
The Time Cloak which was spearheaded by Moti Fridman, a researcher at New York's Cornell University, uses the same principal as that applied when trying to conceal an object - Light wave manipulation. While concealing an object involves bending the light, concealing time, involves changing the speed of light.
To demonstrate the 'disappearance' the team conducted an experiment inside a fiber optic cable, fitted with two special lenses. They began by passing a beam of green light through it. When it hit the first lens, the light split into two speeds - One a little slower than the other. While that was going on, they quickly beamed a red laser through the cable. However, since it occurred precisely at the moment the light split, it was 'invisible' to the audience, making it seem as though the 'event' had never happened.
Further down, another lens helped put the light beam back together so that when it emerged on the other side of the cable, it appeared as though nothing had happened.
According to the scientists the closest analogy to this is what happens when a movie is edited. The director cuts out frames that he doesn't think are relevant and then, splices the rest of the movie back together, like the scene(s) never happened.
The best part is, that since 'Invisibility cloaks' work by bending light, scientists see no reason why the two could not be used simultaneously - That is, an 'invisible' person could perform an 'invisible' action, and nobody would know any better.
However, before you get your hopes up, be warned that the demonstration that hid the beam of red light lasted for all of 40 trillionths of a second or 40 Pico seconds - not enough time to even bat an eyelid. But while scientists may never be able to stretch the time far enough for you to finish a cookie, they may be able to extend it enough to hide transmission of top-secret data, something that would be quite valuable to government officials. We just hope that some day they are able to do more than that - don't you?
Resources: gizmondo.com, msnbc.com