Ever found a pair of dark sunglasses helpful when you want to covertly observe your fellow kind without letting them catch the movement of your eyeballs? Still better for this voyeuristic habit of ours — God forbid if we’re ever rid of it, for it has kept many of us busy and entertained at sundry situations — will be an invisibility cloak that physicists in Purdue University in Indiana have been developing.
The ‘Harry Potter cloak’ will undoubtedly be hugely popular among us Muggles, who all too frequently get the urge to disappear from the face of the earth. It could be the ultimate device for women wanting to escape unwanted gazes; it could come handy when one wants to saunter unnoticed past that inquisitive neighbour (just don’t start whistling a tune in the joy of finally having accomplished the feat). And, while the scientists designing the cloak may disapprove, it could be a great aid to the budding prankster — or wannabe P.C. Sorcars — in all of us.
Sadly, the quandary facing human beings is that the more we try to escape the company of our own kind, the more we miss it. Considering how many of us will want to take part in this vanishing-act fest, the earth may soon seem to have emptied itself of human pests, perhaps even blunting our hardwired Peeping Tom instincts. On the other hand, we wouldn’t be able to help but keep bumping into each invisible other.