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DT Daily: An actual invisibility cloak, Microsoft store plan, bendable wearable

Today on DT Daily: a real-life cloaking device that you can even try and build yourself, news that Microsoft will open a flagship retail store in New York, and a look at the Portal, a crazy device that mixes a big-screen phablet with a smartwatch.

If you’re a sci-fi fan, then you’ll love this. A team of scientists at Rochester University has built a real invisibility cloak, and it’s made using materials generally available to the public. Appropriately called the Rochester Cloak, it works by using four lenses to bend light around an object, making it disappear from view.

While the video shows a small version of the device, the team says it can be scaled up in size to obscure much larger objects. The practical applications might include masking containers on the back of trucks, to help improve driver visibility. Or, hiding from Romulans in the Neutral Zone.

Budding scientists can have a go at making their own version of the Rochester Cloak, and instructions supplied by the university claim it can be made for less than $100.

Microsoft’s vice president for retail has confirmed in an interview the company will be opening a retail store on Fifth Avenue in New York, calling it the “centerpiece” of the Microsoft retail experience.”

It has apparently taken the firm years to find the right location for the new flagship store, and it has finally settled on a spot currently occupied by designer fashion brand Fendi. Coincidentally, or not, Microsoft’s store will be a short walk from Apple’s famous “glass box” retail store, also on Fifth Avenue. It’ll stand apart from most other Microsoft stores, and visitors can expect more space, more products on display, and a mysterious experimental area inside.

But at the moment, there’s no word on when the flagship showroom will open.

The big-screen smartphone and the smartwatch are about to come together as one, massive, wearable device. At least, they will if the latest crowd-funding campaign sensation is successful.

It’s called the Portal, a wrist-worn, 6-inch smartphone which is flexible enough to curve around your arm, and durable enough to be worn when jumping out a plane, or scuba diving. Designed to help us break away from phones which all look the same, and to embrace the convenience of a wearable device, the goal for the project has been set at $300,000.

If you don’t mind really, really, standing out from the crowd, the Portal will only cost about $400 – not bad considering an unlocked iPhone 6 could cost you almost twice that. However, backers will have to wait until late 2015 before being able to strap the phone to their arms, providing the campaign raises enough cash that is.