07/05/2013 07:08 BST

3D Printed 'Invisibility Cloak' Can Be Made At Home (But We Will Still Be Able To See You)

In news that will make Harry Potter fans froth at the mouth, scientists have created an invisibility cloak that can be made using an off-the-shelf 3D printer.... almost.

Technically it's true - although the "cloak" is actually a frisbee sized disc that deflects microwaves rather than visible light.

Although researchers hope to develop the idea towards a visible light cloak at some stage in the future, the only way this device will help in an adolescent quest against the forces of darkness is if it is thrown at someone.

3d printed invisibility cloak

Yaroslav Urzhumov with the "cloak', the 3D printer can be seen behind him

The cloak works by deflecting microwaves around an object placed in the hole in the centre.

Yaroslav Urzhumov, assistant research professor in electrical and computer engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering, described the process in more detail.

He said: "The design of the cloak eliminates the ‘shadow’ that would be cast, and suppresses the scattering from the object that would be expected.

"In effect, the bright, highly reflective object, like a metal cylinder, is made invisible.

"The microwaves are carefully guided by a thin dielectric shell and then re-radiated back into free space on the shadow side of the cloak."

Urzhumov believes the technology is not just confined to the lab.

He said: "I would argue that essentially anyone who can spend a couple thousand dollars on a non-industry grade 3-D printer can literally make a plastic cloak overnight."

It is another massive step forward in the rapidly evolving world of 3D printing.

Yesterday we reported the slightly terrifying story of Cody Wilson whose company had successfully fired the first 3D printed gun.