The perfect crime tool: Researchers work on ‘event cloak’

PARIS — Jewelry robbers, magicians, exam cheats and practical jokers everywhere will have an interest in an offbeat idea launched by physicists on Tuesday: to make the passage of time invisible.

The scientists have conceived of a “spacetime cloak” which manipulates light and, in essence, conceals whole events from a viewer.

The theory is based on censoring the flow of events, which we perceive as a stream of light particles, also called photons, that strike the retina.

By exploiting a characteristic of fiber optics, the flow of photons can be slowed, events edited out and stitched back together, say the team from Imperial College London and Salford University, northwestern England.

“A safecracker would be able, for a brief time, to enter a scene, open the safe, remove its contents, close the door and exit the scene, whilst the record of a surveillance camera apparently showed that the safe door was closed all the time,” according to their paper.

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