You’ve heard of the space race and the nuclear arms race, but now the U.S. and Canada are up to a much friendlier jaunt: a race to make the first-ever invisibility cloak.
Although the invisibility mechanism isn’t exactly ripped from the pages of Harry Potter — it would cloak military planes from radio waves rather than a person standing right in front of you — it’s one step closer for us Muggles to join J.K. Rowling’s fantastical world.
But this isn’t the first time something from Harry Potter has turned into a reality. Here are some other ways Muggles today enjoy Potter privileges:
While newspapers might not have moving photographs quite yet — although online news has certainly taken advantage of GIFs — 2013 is much more saturated with moving digital digital picture frames and interactive billboards than when Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was released in 1997. Japanese scientists even created interactive posters in which women react to getting kissed.
The Blood Diary
When engineer Wei Shen was watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, he was inspired when the young wizard interacted with Tom Riddle’s self-writing diary. (Potter would write questions, the diary would write back answers). So he decided to create a paper that can spell out a person’s blood type immediately, which could be useful in times of humanitarian disasters. “The movie shows that you can have a text result, and that’s where the idea comes from,” Shen told ABC.
The self-stirring cauldron was invented by Gaspard Shingleton in the wizarding world of Harry Potter, but us Muggles have adapted that technology to our more practical cooking uses. Japanese technology has created a self-stirring pot.
Just as the witches and wizards of Harry Potter kept owls as companions, so have various Muggles. According to The Mirror, sales for the pricey bird increased with the release of new films and books. Unfortunately in 2012, as the series came to a close, hundreds of owls were abandoned reportedly by bandwagon fans.
While the broom-centric game would never have existed without Harry Potter’s publication and popularization, the “sport” is now played on college campuses across the country. Even though the series has come to a close, Quidditch lives on. There’s even an International Quidditch Association (IQA) that caters to the 300+ teams around the world.
While wands have been incorporated into normal Muggle households in functional ways — note: the wand remote control — modern witches say that JK Rowling’s depiction of the wand picking process isn’t far off from the truth. “As they said in the Harry Potter films: you don’t choose the wand, the wand chooses the magician,” Wolf Von DemBeck told TIME’s Charlotte Alter at the Wiccan Family Temple’s midnight Samhain ritual on Halloween.
Of course, Butterbeer is straight out of the pages of Harry Potter, but Starbucks is now carrying the concoction.
Wearing Strange Cloaks Publicly
Have you seen the snuggie?