It’s only a theory for now, but a goddamn mind-blowing one at that. The whole notion of invisibility cloaks revolves around light waves passing through a cloaked object as if nothing is there, giving the illusion of invisibility. But scientists at the University of Manchester believe they can apply the same principle to vibration waves. In essence, a cloak of invulnerability could make entire buildings immune to the likes of earthquakes and terrorist attacks.
The starting point for the research begins with finding the right material. Since naturally occurring materials can’t shield vibration or even sound waves, the solution thus far has been pre-stressing rubber, which can cloak a specific type of elastic wave. It’s a start for now, as lead researcher Dr. William Parnell explains, “This is important because we want to guide such waves in many contexts, especially in nano-applications such as in electronics for example.” Parnell adds, “If the theory can be scaled up to larger objects then it could be used to create cloaks to protect buildings and structures, or perhaps more realistically to protect very important specific parts of those structures.”