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Scientists make tractor beam breakthrough


Posted on Monday, 22 January, 2018 | Comment icon 7 comments

Objects can be levitated using 'tornadoes of sound'. Image Credit: University of Bristol
An acoustic tractor beam could make it possible to levitate large objects within the not-too-distant future.
Although the technology needed to levitate an object using sound waves has existed for years, lifting anything but the smallest of items using sound waves alone has long proven notoriously difficult.

Now though, engineers from the University of Bristol have finally found a way to levitate objects using an acoustic tractor beam that is larger than the wavelengths of sound being used by the device.

"Acoustic researchers had been frustrated by the size limit for years, so it's satisfying to find a way to overcome it," said study lead author Asier Marzo. "I think it opens the door to many new applications."

Such applications could include the manufacture of fragile products without having to physically touch them or the manipulation of surgical devices within a patient's body during an operation.

Crucially, it is also likely that the technology can be scaled up significantly over time.

"In the future, with more acoustic power it will be possible to hold even larger objects," said senior research associate Mihai Caleap. "This was only thought to be possible using lower pitches making the experiment audible and dangerous for humans."


Source: CNET.com | Comments (7)

Tags: Levitate, Tractor Beam

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seeder on 22 January, 2018, 15:18
THIS.......makes me feel a great many things.....let me explain:    Years and years ago as a teen, when Id gotten into music...I noticed that when playing music loud, the plant in front of the speakers.....well its leaves nearest the speaker would move in time to the beats Years later when Id got online and started reading about antigravity nonsense, I remembered those plants twitching in time to the beats from the speaker...and so I TOO...many years ago...thought that could be developed into some sort of levitator But did nothing about..... If Id pursued that idea, who knows, I might be famou... [More]
Comment icon #2 Posted by Almighty Evan on 22 January, 2018, 15:50
Comment icon #3 Posted by Hawkin on 22 January, 2018, 19:14
That could have been Emit Brown (Doc) next invention and made a sequel out of that.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer on 22 January, 2018, 20:17
Being able to make something float is anti-grav as Seeder mentioned.  A tractor beam drags something toward you or holds it in place so you can tow the object.   Great discovery, though.  Will it eventually make all the hover boards work?
Comment icon #5 Posted by UFOwatcher on 23 January, 2018, 17:36
"acoustic tractor beam"   WHAT? I can't hear anything now...
Comment icon #6 Posted by Calibeliever on 26 January, 2018, 15:14
If they are able someday to scale it from a fraction of a gram to tens of kilos, I don't see why not. I'm curious what the power needs would be. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by cerberusxp on 30 January, 2018, 10:35
Ralph Ring, Otis T. Carr and their co workers on a Government project levitated a basketball with a speaker in the 1950's. He remembered that he believed it happened at 32,000 cycles.


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