A University of Liverpool mathematician claims 30-year-old open-source software has cracked the equation that will allow scientists to make objects - such as humans, tanks or even entire islands - invisible.

The mathematical theory builds on earlier research into cloaking technology by Imperial College's Professor John Pendry. He developed artificial materials (or meta-materials) that can make light sweep around an object, theoretically rendering it invisible. 'You play geometrical tricks,' Pendry told PC Pro. 'You force [light] particles to go around an object just like water goes around a stone.'

To help identify the exact parameters that would make the meta-materials invisible, Pendry and his colleagues needed to solve Maxwell equations - the complicated equations that determine how electric and magnetic fields behave.

Step forward Liverpool's Sebastien Guenneau, who took a decades-old open-source program called GetDP and tweaked the source code to solve the Maxwell equations.

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