Being “invisible,” as much as any human being can, is something that has become increasingly impossible in the age of a pervasive Internet and social media. But the word has other meanings besides the ability to be unseen by the naked eye. Here are a few stories that show the literal, figurative or otherwise different meanings behind being “invisible.”

Where are we? Hogwarts?

Scientists at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Centre have created a device that can render objects invisible. The small $1000 “invisibility cloak” is made up of calcite crystals and uses optical anisotropy (having different physical properties that differ depending on the direction of measurement; think of light being scattered through a crystal) to create the illusion of seeing through it. However, it may be awhile before you have an invisibility cloak hanging in your closet; the project is far from perfect, with parts of the cloaked objects still being visible from certain angles.

Invisible wounds

It is common to hear in the news of soldiers dying during wartime, but rarely are soldier’s deaths reported after the war. Suicide has become a major problem amongst military personnel after they return home. The U.S. military is seeing their highest rate of suicides in 16 years. The first half of 2010 saw 80 soldiers in active duty commit suicide, as well as 42 suicides among reserve soldiers. It is becoming more and more clear that these “invisible wounds” are just as deadly as a bullet.

Invisible children

Beginning in 2003 with one documentary, the organization Invisible Children has being working to stop the use of child soldiers in Uganda. A non-profit organization, the team, composed of 95% Ugandan citizens, works not only change the lives of those people in war-torn regions, but to educate and inspire people in the Western world. Check them out at www.invisiblechildren.com. The 55-minute documentary, Invisible Children: Rough Cut, can be viewed in full on Google Video.