People have been trying for a very long time to figure out the special fabric that might render people invisible.

The idea is in some of our most beloved children’s books. It’s a hallmark of some campy horror flicks. So far in the real world, however, we haven’t been able to achieve the desired results. But researchers are hoping to come up with the answer by getting creative and looking at new materials.

Researchers at Michigan Technological University hope that photonic crystals may be the answer, according to a new study in a special issue of Journal of Optics, reported Thursday by Science Daily. Photonic crystals have been studied since 1887 for a variety of reasons related to light. The material is able to transmit electric forces without conduction.

Despite researchers around the world trying to figure out invisibility, the fact remains that we’re likely pretty far off from a solution to the issue. Researchers earlier this year had some successes in rendering lumps on flat surfaces invisible through layered materials, a development that could help with reducing electromagnetic communications interference between satellites.

Most approaches tend to rely on manipulating electromagnetic waves and optics — when it comes to invisibility cloaks, the idea is basically to find a way to get the waves to divert in an orderly way around an object — but there are others who say moving to a digital approach may be the way to go.

Take for instance optical physicist Joseph Choi, who told CNN that digitally manipulating the light is the best option and likely to be available much quicker. That approach would rely on power to run, unlike other approaches that are considered to be “passive,” but Choi says that the garments could be available in about 10 years or so.