The pace of technological innovation continues to surprise. This week reports suggest that, in theory at least, it will be possible to create new materials that divert light around themselves to render objects invisible. The magical cloaks of Harry Potter (also in the news this week), no longer seem so far-fetched.
The technology of today, however, is also striving for invisibility. It's getting smaller, more integrated and embedded into the world around us. As a result the way in which we interact with it is changing in fundamental ways. This Christmas, one of those must-have gifts is Kinect, the add-on for Microsoft's X-Box game console. Kinect drops the need for a physical controller meaning the user can play a game simply by waving their arms, hands, legs or any other body part for that matter. The reported levels of engagement this generates are profound as the suspension of disbelief, so core to game-play, is deeper and more sustained.
This gesture-based control is all around us, on our smartphones, tablets, touchscreen laptops, TVs and as things develop, on any appliance or surface that needs a communications interface of some sort. But that's not all, technology is becoming wearable in the form of heads-up display glasses that let you watch movies on what feels like a virtual 52" TV screen, cameras that record everything you say and do, storing it in your 'life-cache' or streaming it straight to Facebook for all to enjoy. All this breaks down the barriers between real and virtual worlds.