In a breakthrough that could signal a new era for human technology, US and Chinese researchers announced Thursday they are a step closer to creating an invisibility shield. In a development made possible by advances in designing complex mathematical commands known as algorithms, engineers at Duke University, North Carolina were able to create what they call "metamaterials." These materials can "guide electromagnetic waves around an object, only to have them emerge on the other side as if they had passed through an empty volume of space," according to the team, whose work was published in the January 16 edition of the journal Science. The cloaking phenomenon is similar to mirages seen at a distance on a hot day, according to senior researcher David R. Smith.