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Miniature Star Trek 'tractor beam' built

Posted on Saturday, 26 January, 2013 | Comment icon 20 comments | News tip by: Still Waters

Image credit: CC 3.0 Julo

Scientists have developed a working Star Trek style tractor bream on a microscopic scale.

The tiny apparatus is capable of attracting particles towards it using a beam of light, the first time such a feat has been achieved without the use of a computer to "trap" the objects beforehand. While the principle works well on very small targets, scaling it up to work on larger everyday objects isn't really practical. "If you imagine you would like to attract a football, the amount of energy it would transfer would be huge and it would immediately burn up the football," said study leader Dr Tomas Cizmar.

The aim of building a working tractor beam has been the target of scientific research for decades with varying degrees of success. While a device of the scale and power of the tractor beams used in science fiction shows like Star Trek are still a long way off, the miniature tractor beams developed so far could prove very useful in areas such as medicine and robotics.

"Researchers from St Andrews demonstrated that the microscopic-scale apparatus could pull tiny particles suspended in water towards it via a beam of light, rather than push them away as would normally happen."

  View: Full article

 Source: Telegraph

  Discuss: View comments (20)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by chopmo on 28 January, 2013, 14:14
hehe... oh how the future will be like computers are to todays geriachtrics =D I sometimes anticipate going cenile with a hover car I wonder if bath robes will still exist Exciting news though considering it doesn't technically kill the person by transporting them to the ship.
Comment icon #12 Posted by tyrant lizard on 28 January, 2013, 14:32
The swish swish door noise was actually a sheet of paper being taken from an envelope...
Comment icon #13 Posted by Chooky88 on 28 January, 2013, 15:17
It gave us the Wiggles jerseys too
Comment icon #14 Posted by seeder on 28 January, 2013, 17:39
The swish swish door noise was actually a sheet of paper being taken from an envelope... if you like the star trek sound effects you will love pressing buttons on this page, scroll down for verbals http://www.mediacoll.../star-trek/tos/
Comment icon #15 Posted by paperdyer on 6 February, 2013, 16:02
As far as the heat generation goes, occassionally a ship caught in a tractor beam would break-up because it couldn't take the beam.
Comment icon #16 Posted by King Cobra 1408 on 14 February, 2013, 22:08
dude that's awsome i love that movie star trek and i love the design of the gadget and etc.and well everything about it.they should make more of these devices that help humanity not make life worse and etc.i love technology but what i fear is that there are people that use for the opposite of good which is evil like the president and his drone attacks on American people even on non American people all life is precious and beautiful
Comment icon #17 Posted by shrooma on 16 February, 2013, 21:14
there's a link on the same page entitled 'british scientists invent non-melting chocolate hob nob'. where's the fun in that?? '....and the winner of this year's ignobel award is....'
Comment icon #18 Posted by shrooma on 16 February, 2013, 21:21
As far as the heat generation goes, occassionally a ship caught in a tractor beam would break-up because it couldn't take the beam. if it was romulan, who cares....? :-)
Comment icon #19 Posted by MysticStrummer on 17 February, 2013, 22:27
Cool, but I'd rather have something like the Holodeck. Rudimentary transporters are being worked on too, though they are only transporting atoms or molecules at this point from what I read.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Junior Chubb on 17 February, 2013, 22:38
Chewie, lock in the auxiliary power...

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