A cloaking device similar to those used by Star Trek's war-like race the Romulans can be built out of the kinds of device often used in optoelectronics installations, scientists have discovered.
Professor Martin McCall from the department of physics at Imperial College London led research into how normal optoelectronics equipment can be customised to render objects invisible.
The result is a fibre optic system which splits light into two components, one of which is accelerated ahead of the object and the other of which is slowed behind it.
A void is created in the middle where no light exists, but where matter can occupy the space - effectively making it impossible to see the thing.
Ultimately the scientists hope it might be possible to create commercial applications for the device and allow items to move from one place to another without being seen.
The research is published this week in Journal of Optics, the periodical from the Institute of Physics.