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Professor Ulf Leonhardt at St Andrews University is working on a blueprint for a cloaking device that could also be used to shield coast lines.
Prof Leonhardt, who describes his invisibility work as "geometry, light and a wee bit of magic", hopes to manipulate modern metamaterials - or "designer atoms" to create an invisibility device using the laws of refraction.
He believes that in bending light, transparent materials like glass or water appear to distort the geometry of space, which is the cause of many optical illusions, including invisibility.