Cloaking Material Makes Objects Imperceptible to Touch
"Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have created a material that sounds like something from a fictional tale: an elasto-mechanical unfeelability cloak. The polymer-based, scaffold-like structure can mask the presence of an object so it’s imperceptible to the human touch.
If you, for example, stepped on a large enough rock, the rubber and foam in your shoe would deform and result in a noticeable bulge. If your shoes were made of the cloaking material, it would disperse the pressure in such a way that you wouldn’t notice the rock beneath your foot.
How Does It Work?
Researchers produced their metamaterial using 3-D laser lithography to cut and shape needle-shaped cones whose tips meet. These elements were assembled into something that looks like a tiny brick with a honeycomb structure. The size and contact points where the tips meet vary depending on their location, so that objects within the material are imperceptible. “