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Mirage device to be used in espionage?

You don't have to be in the hot desert or on a long road in the summer to see an optical phenomenon - also known as a mirage - thanks to new scientific innovations.

Straight out of sci-fi novel, researchers from the University of Texas at Dallas have come up with a device that makes objects disappear using the mirage effect, a cool optical illusion that is often portrayed in classic, American western movies.

So how does it work? This device uses an optical phenomenon, in which light rays are bent to produce a displaced image of distant objects or the sky, according to the IOP (Institute of Physics blog).

"The most common example of a mirage is when an observer appears to see pools of water on the ground. This occurs because the air near the ground is a lot warmer than the air higher up, causing lights rays to bend upward towards the viewer's eye rather than bounce off the surface," explains the IOP.

An Institute of Physics spokesperson said, "It is remarkable to see this cloaking device demonstrated in real life and on a workable scale. The array of applications that could arise from this device, besides cloaking, is a testament to the excellent work of the authors."

"Early Show" co-anchor Jeff Glor notes some researchers are even saying that this mirage device could be the next new thing in espionage.