Invisibility is nothing new to magicians; we’re expected to keep things out of sight all of the time. However, the use of a supernatural shield to render oneself invisible has historically been limited to the worlds of fantasy and science-fiction... until now! British Start-up Company, Invisibility Shield Co, are fundraising on Kickstarter for what they describe as ‘a real working Invisibility Shield.’ Although their target demographic goes beyond magicians, there’s still plenty for us to be excited about.
If you haven’t seen the product before (and let’s face it, that’s kind of the point), it’s essentially a transparent screen, engineered in such a way to bend the light that passes through its edges, meaning anything in the centre behind it is obscured from view and, therefore, ‘invisible’. Magicians who perform Lubor Fiedler’s Lubor’s Lens may be familiar with this principle, although this shield is much larger, meaning you could fit a crouching human behind it. The company also suggests that you could hide an elephant with enough screens, but you’d need to buy a lot of Shields (and provide your own elephant).
So, where did the idea come from? According to their Campaign story, the project was inspired a couple of years ago during an internet buzz ‘about independent makers working on turning science fiction into reality and creating fully functional Invisibility shields.’ For any followers of YouTube Magician Chris Ramsay, this buzz may linger in recent memory. Chris’ video, Testing a REAL Invisibility Shield, was uploaded in September 2020 and has amassed nearly 3m views. The video features Chris exploring many fun and creative ways to use the shield. For Chris, the possibilities are limitless, but it does beg the question: what would non-magicians get out of what could be easily dismissed as a fun but expensive novelty toy?
Let’s get this out of the way; Invisibility Shield Co states clearly that their product has ‘not been designed to protect you from any kind of attack’, so that’s out the question. Little else springs to mind other than covering up messy bedrooms and hiding when unwanted visitors knock on your door. Yet, this hasn’t disparaged people from supporting the project in their droves; in fact, production of these screens could soon skyrocket if the burgeoning number of backers is anything to go by—in a matter of weeks, their pledge of £5,000 has surpassed £200k and then some. Now, imagine if any of these backers are magicians.
Imagine Lubor’s Lens extreme. Imagine all the objects you could reveal, warp, vanish, multiply. Consider your existing routines and add the shield—from Paul Harris’ Twilight or even the Invisible Deck. If you’re a stage illusionist, could this technology enhance your act in any way? Better still, even without owning one, the fact they’re in the cultural zeitgeist makes an incredible hook line: No wires, no magnets, no Invisibility Shields.
All we need now is a giant WOW gimmick and an arm-sized Thumb Tip, and we’re good to go.