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You can now buy a real-life invisibility shield

You can now buy a real-life invisibility shield

It's like something out of Harry Potter.

If you've ever wished you could just hide from the world and turn invisible, that might actually be possible.

While the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter still doesn't really exist, a British start-up has launched a crowdfunding campaign for something that comes pretty close to it.

The Invisibility Shield Co it bringing exactly that to the masses. It calls its designs 'optical cloaking technology' - they're basically sheets of plastic that have been carefully designed to bounce light in a way that hides whatever's behind them.

It's a little hard to visualize, but the shields work by using what the company calls a 'precision engineered lens array' to bounce light that would normally travel through it, away to the sides.

This means that the image of whatever's behind the shield is bounced away, replaced by light from either side of it instead.

If you're standing behind the shield, this ends up making it look a little like a mirror, but to everyone in front of it the effect is more like a blurry window - but a window that shows empty space behind it.

There are plenty of funny photos on the crowdfunding page illustrating how this can be used for pranks and hijinks, but it's pretty easy to imagine more practical uses, too.

Take a stage show that wants to hide a prop from sight until the perfect moment, without drawing the audience's attention to it - this sort of shield could work wonders there. This would be equally useful for hiding technical equipment or panels, too.

Equally, it's hard to escape the sense that this could have military applications, too, given the usefulness of camouflaged positions in combat - although it's probably a safe bet that many militaries worldwide are working on their own cloaking tech in the background.

The crowdfunding campaign is live for the next couple of months, and has already surged past its £10,000 ($12,600) goal to have over £43,000 ($54,100) pledged at the time of writing, so there's clearly plenty of interest in it.

You can still make a pledge of your own, with three shield sizes available as rewards - an 8-inch 'Mini' shield has a price of £54 ($68), the 3-foot 'Full size' costs £329 ($414), and the much larger 6-foot 'Megashield' is priced at £769 ($968).

Those are pretty steep price tags, but then again you'll be owning something that we doubt any of your friends will have seen before, so it could be very good value at a party.

Featured Image Credit: Invisibility Shield Co/